Prescription for Success – The Pharmacy Low Down!

Hi Shawna,

I just finished my last pack of pills – how do I get more?


Good Question!

Prescription and pharmacy questions are some of the most frequently asked questions we get – it’s about time I blog about it.

Before I begin, let me clarify some terms.

Prescriptions: Medications that require a clinician’s approval.

Over the Counter Medications: Medications, like Tylenol or NyQuil, which can be purchased without a clinician’s approval.

Refill: A refill is more of your medicine that you already have a prescription for. Some medicines are only needed once whereas other medicines are needed over a long period of time – like birth control pills.

Pharmacy: Where medications, both prescriptions and over the counter, are dispensed and/or sold. Walgreens, CVS, and Safeway are some of the most common pharmacies used by NGHC patients.


Many places give patients a piece of paper (like the one below) that they must take to a pharmacy in order to get their prescription but here at NGHC we send prescriptions electronically (like an email).

Rx Pad

Picking up your prescription:

Go to the pharmacy counter and let the pharmacist know you are picking up a prescription. Give them your picture ID (if you have one) and your Family Pact Card. It’s okay if you don’t have an ID because they can verify your identity by asking you various questions (like birth date or address). But it’s really important to have your Family Pact card because it’s the reason the medications we prescribed you are free. Without this card, the pharmacist may attempt to charge you for your medication (which can be very expensive). 

*Family Pact does not cover all medications but it does cover the medications we prescribe at NGHC (like birth control and STD treatment). It will not cover the cost of other medication (like acne or asthma medication). If you have any questions about this, ask the person prescribing you the medication or the pharmacist.


If you have any questions about the medication, be sure to ask the pharmacist. Common questions include:

        Should I eat before I take this medication?

        Should I avoid certain food or alcohol when taking this medication?

        How long should I take this medication for?

        Are there any side effects from taking this medication?

It’s really important that you get all your questions answered. Some medications can have some very bad consequences if taken incorrectly.

If you forget to ask the pharmacist or are too embarrassed, you can call NGHC and ask us. We’d be happy to answer any questions about the medication that we prescribed to you.

Before you leave the pharmacy, check the label on the prescription and make sure everything is correct. If not, let the pharmacist know. The medication will also likely come with a sheet of information about the medication. Make sure you read it, especially if you have never taken the medication.

The picture below shows you how to read a medication label. All medications will have this information.



If you are taking a medication more than once, like the birth control pills, you will need refills. For almost every patient we prescribe birth control to, we also give refills. Look at the label and see if you have any refills left. If you do, call the pharmacy BEFORE you run out and ask them to refill the prescription. Be sure to pick it up before you run out.

If the label says you have no refills left, call NGHC and ask for a refill. Whoever takes your call will deliver the message to one of the clinicians so they can send in another prescription for you. It may take a few days for that to happen so make sure you let us know before you are completely out of your medication.


All your personal information, including your prescriptions, is confidential. The pharmacy is not allowed to tell anyone, including your parents, about your medications. However, if you use the same pharmacy your family does, we suggest informing the pharmacists that you really do need all your medications confidential. Make sure they have your phone number and know how to contact you if you share your phone number with family.

A few pharmacy tips:

If you use any major pharmacy, like Walgreens or CVS, you can pick up your prescription at any location. You can either walk in or call the location you want to pick them up at and tell them that you normally pick them up elsewhere but that you’d like to get them there. All larger pharmacies are connected and can see where your prescription was sent. Just note, it may take a little longer for your prescription to be ready.

Some major pharmacies have apps that make ordering and refilling super easy. Ask your pharmacy if they have an app.


I hope this answers some of your questions about prescriptions and pharmacies. If you still have questions, let me know (I know this stuff can be a little confusing).

In happiness & health,


Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD

Happy Pride Everyone!!!

New Gen joins in on celebrating LGBTQI Pride!

We are not claiming to be experts on this subject. Like all kinds of people, many LGBTQI people have their own way of explaining what their identity means to them or what their experience may be . This blog is just a brief view into what is a huge and active conversation around the world. If you find yourself wanting to learn more, or want to join in on that conversation, we include some sites to check out at the end of this blog.

This past weekend, June 29-30, was Pride Weekend in San Francisco—a weekend when people from across the country and throughout the Bay Area come together to celebrate the LGBTQI community. According to the SFPride website, this event is “the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.” This is something for all San Franciscans to be proud of!

Identifying with one or more of these terms is totally personal. It is 100% OK if you don’t identify with any of these terms or don’t know which of these you consider yourself right now. It’s also totally normal if how you identify changes over a lifetime. While the identities represented by all these letters may be separate, many of the people in these groups have come together to support each other and work for a common cause of acceptance, equal rights and access to services. Even if we don’t personally identify with any of these letters, many of us have loved ones, friends, coworkers, and neighbors who do. As a clinic, we welcome LGBTQI patients and do our best to make every person comfortable!

 So what do all these letters stand for exactly? They represent different kinds of

Sexualities—Based on sexual attraction and romantic love: homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, queer.

Gender Expression—Based on how a person wants the world to see them: feminine, masculine, transgender*, androgynous*,   or genderqueer*.

*Some transgender people may identify simply as female or male, while others may identify as trans.

*Androgynous: some people desire to look neither masculine nor feminine.

*Genderqueer: some people desire to look sometimes feminine, sometimes masculine, sometimes both or neither, and not stick to one gender at all times.

Biological sexesBased on sexual anatomy: male, female, intersex.

All three of these identities can and do include more than just appearance — identity is never that simple. As you read on, you’ll see there is a lot of grey in between.


L: Lesbian. Women who are attracted to other women.

G: Gay. Someone who is attracted to other people of the same sex. A man who is attracted to other men OR a woman who is attracted to other women.

B: Bisexual. A person who is attracted to people of both sexes.

T: Transgender. A person who identifies as a different gender than the biological sex they were assigned at birth based on their sexual organs. The gender with which someone identifies does not necessarily have to do with their sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, queer).

Q: Queer. Some people prefer to call themselves “queer” instead of “gay” or “bisexual” because they feel it is less confining (they may feel attracted to people regardless of gender or not want to think about attraction in terms of two genders or sexes).

I: Intersex. A person who is biologically both sexes. This can mean they have the hormones, genes, and/or anatomy of both a male and female.

It can be a huge leap for someone to open up to friends, family, health care providers, employers or coworkers about any one of these identities. That’s what make events like Pride Weekend so awesome!

Happy Pride Everyone! This past weekend and everyday!

Barbara Haupt

For more information check out:

San Francisco LGBT Community Center – Resources for LGBTQI people an queer education.

LyricActivities, tutoring, recreation, health and sex ed. for GLBTQ youth

SFQueer A Calendar for Queer events and activities in the Bay Area

The Trevor Project 24 hr. suicide prevention and crisis hotline

Transgendered San Francisco Support and social group for the Transgender community.

Intersex Society for North America

National Center for Lesbian Rights