I’m on my way home and I decide to stop at the pharmacy to pick up my Tamoxifen refill. The pharmacist confirms my name and hands me the bag containing the medication. I look inside, as I always do, to make sure it is in fact the right drug. Immediately I notice it isn’t. Instead of my usual clear little amber pill bottle, I see a big blue plastic bottle.
“This is not the drug I take,” I whisper to the pharmacist.
“Yes it is,” she says. “It’s just a different manufacture. The container and the pills might look different, but …”
I start to feel uncomfortable. “You mean the pills don’t even have the usual 782 code on them?,” I ask.
“That’s right. These look different but it is the same medication,” she says.
I am having a hard time accepting this. I insist, “are you sure about this? Look, the label says ‘Tamoxifen Citrate’. I’ve never seen ‘Citrate’ on the bottle before. I mean, these pills even look bigger.”
She reconfirms. The drug is the same. Tamoxifen.
I pay and leave the pharmacy with what I still believed is the wrong medication.
I arrive home and immediately take the new bottle out of the bag to compare the pills to the old ones I have. The label from the old bottle says Tamoxifen, 20 mg. The new one says the same, except for that foreign word, “Citrate”. But the name difference doesn’t bother me that much. I understand that the active ingredients of both pills are the same. The thing that bothers me is that big blue bottle. I examine it, trying to familiarize myself with it. But I can’t. I don’t like it. I put it down.
This is not the drug I take. I refuse to use this bottle. It looks too different from all the other non-cancer drugs I’ve ever taken and gotten used to. I want what I am familiar with. I don’t need more change forced on me.
I pour the new pills into the old bottle and throw the blue container away.