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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I went to collect my monthly prescription from Sainsburys pharmacy

Customer Question

I went to collect my monthly prescription from Sainsburys pharmacy on New Years Eve with my daughter. One medication was replaced as there was a problem with the normal manufacturer and I was told I was being given a different painkiller because it was 'cheaper' than the normal medication. I suffer from chronic end stage polycystic kidney disease, I dialyse every day from home and I have a lot of flank pain at nighttime without painkillers. I am very dependant on the painkillers I am used to having. The assistant then said she only had 17 tablets of the type I normally have, I asked if I could have those with a prescription for the balance due because I have kidney disease and like to have the ones I am used to, she went off and I presumed she was collecting my medications. Instead, she walked past us with her coat and handbag and left the store without saying a word. I was confused and quite shocked at being left and was unsure whether to rejoin the queue. I was wondering what to do when the pharmacist came to speak to me. She said that it was her choice as to the brand of painkiller I could have as the brand name was not specified on my prescription, and that she was giving me the cheaper medication. I asked if I could have my prescription back, intending to go instead to another chemist, but the pharmacist snatched it away telling me the prescription was not mine but that it was owned by Sainsbury's. I was very upset by this and did not believe that this was true and so I said that this was 'bull ****'. The pharmacist accused me of swearing AT her, which I was not, I swore at the situation I was being put in, and she told me I was going to be thrown out. She beckoned a security guard over and my daughter and i were escorted out of the crowded store immediately in front of all of the people queueing at the tills. I immediately started crying because I was so humiliated, angry and upset, and the security guard then kept telling me to calm down. I felt I was entitled to be upset at how I was treated and he made things worse. The pharmacist kept hold of the replacement pain killers and my other medication and I had no choice but to go home without them. I was without my medication for 3 days thanks to the New Years holiday, and I had 3 terrible pain filled nights and a ruined New Years Eve and Day. I started shaking immediately after being thrown out and this carried on for days, as well as being extremely tearful and distressed. I cannot go back into this store again because of how I was treated and this is extremely inconvenient for me. I feel I have been discriminated against and treated like a criminal. I have been very hurt and insulted, and all of this has also left my daughter extremely upset. She was also thrown out of the store and as my full time carer I hate the fact that she has been treated so badly also. I have complained to Sainsburys and I am now awaiting an apology letter that I have been promised. I have told them that I want financial compensation and this is being passed to their insurers. I have looked into 'hurt feelings' but I am having difficulty knowing how to place a figure on the compensation. The pharmacist and the assistant treated me with discrimination, I was insulted, I was denied my medication and the means to go elsewhere for my medication, and I feel this act was intentionally done to be nasty to me. It was demeaning to be left unattended whilst the assistant went home and I have never been more embarrassed than when I was thrown out! I would appreciate advice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this?

What action are you hoping to take?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I would like advice on how to work out how much compensation to ask for. I have found a case where someone was refused entry to a nightclub which was confirmed as being race discrimination and the person received £2500. I am disabled and I was thrown out of my local Sainsbury's, as was my daughter, and I suffered physical pain from having my medication withheld, on top of the discrimination and being lied to and insulted.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Why for?

What is the unlawful discrimination here?

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