Standing Your Ground

Standing Your Ground

What two words can strike fear, dread, and frustration into the heart of a Chronic Pain Patient faster than anything?

PRIOR AUTHORIZATION

I’ve become what I like to call an “Amateur Expert” at navigating PAs and most importantly, dealing those that would stand in my way of legally and rightfully obtaining my Opioid Pain Meds (OPMs) when they are due and I need them.

I take an Extended Release Morphine each day to help control my moderate to severe Chronic Pain and Osteoarthritis pain from the 5+ conditions I have in my L3 to S1 lower back area. Due to the “Opioid Crisis” my Medicaid I have through the State of Nevada requires a PA for this twice a year or every 6 months instead of once a year. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, my doctor’s office is now overwhelmed with type of PA, as well as all the ones needed for a weeks worth of OPMs and countless other situations that it basically takes forever to get my PA approved now even though I remind them at my office visit, via phone calls and messages, they simply cannot get to it time.

This was the case when my last PA for my ER Morphine was due this past March. Tuck for a bit of a tale, this may help YOU in the near future in many ways!!

Despite my best efforts to get the PA approved on or before March 22nd when my meds were due, alas it was not approved and I had two choices:

  1. Wait until it was approved and I had no idea when that would have been
  2. Pay out-of-pocket, which was $200, get my meds that day, and then get reimbursed when the PA was approved

Well, I absolutely cannot suddenly stop taking the Morphine I’ve been on for YEARS, so I opted to pay the $200. It was a stretch financially, however the pharmacist that tried to get the PA approved that day, ended up FILLING the medication, and happily assured me I could get my money back when the PA was approved AND that she would PERSONALLY make sure that my FILL DATE WAS CORRECT, we will call her “Sue”, was more than happy to fill it and have me pay out-of-pocket since they all knew me and that I was a “legit” patient. All would be well!

Tracy Cabanting

So, I happily paid the $200 and got my meds on their 30 day due date of March 22nd. The PA was approved a week later on March 29th . On March 29th when I was reimbursed my $200, Sue issued my refund, was IRRITATED she had to do it although SHE was the one that encouraged me to do it, and she said word for word while doing it, and I quote “ Let me make sure I put your fill date in as March 22nd so your 30 day due and fill date does NOT get messed up!”

Fast forward to Friday April 19th, the day of my next 3 month doctors appointment. My doctor of 14 YEARS wrote my Morphine for that day, which was 28 days from my last fill, which is 100% legal, because I was up and about that day and he knows it is easier and less painful for me to just go that same day, and it would have been due on a Sunday when no one would have been available at his office or my insurance office if I had any problems getting it filled.

Can you sense the foreshadowing?!?!

I head to my pharmacy, of over 4 years btw, to get my Morphine filled. Again, I’m at 28 days, which is 100% legal and acceptable here in Nevada. And guess which pharmacist is working? Good ol’ Sue! The one who filled this same medication on March 22nd when I paid for it and issued my refund a week later when my PA went through and the one that personally MADE SURE MY FILL DATE WAS MARCH 22ND SO I WOULD NOT HAVE ISSUES FILLING IN APRIL!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Life is funny.

I hand in my prescription, say I will wait for it, hobble over to the chairs, and sit down to wait.

Ten minutes later Sue waves me over.

“I’m not going to fill this until the 29th for you. Come back then.”

I’m not joking when I say that I blacked out for a bit.

Immediately, my shocked brain started doing prescription math in my head, which didn’t work due to the shock I was in.

“Wait, what?!?! Why not? It can be filled TODAY, otherwise my doctor would not have written it for TODAY!” I called after her as she quickly hustled away from me.

Good Ol’ Sue rolled her eyes, let out an audible sigh of disgust and frustration and stomped back over to me at the counter. She proceeded to very rudely explain that HER computer had my last fill date as MARCH 29TH and therefore she could NOT fill it until April 29th, which is still WRONG as there are 31 days in March, but that is besides the point.

“No. I had this filled on March 22nd, remember? YOU filled it after trying to get that PA filled. I was REIMBURSED on March 29th, YOU did that too and even said you were gonna make sure my fill date was the 22nd so my fill dates didn’t get messed up, yet HERE WE ARE!!” I kind of bellowed back at her. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to wait TEN DAYS for a prescription that can and should be filled that day! I still had 2 days of meds left, but it was the PRINCIPAL of the matter! How dare she!

For the next hour and a half, I called my insurance, which is Medicaid, they told her they had my last fill date as March 22nd and that it would go through that day and to fill it. She refused. Sue then very rudely and snarkily tried to talk down to me by starting to say “ Let me explain how this works to you….” And I lost my poo! I cut her off and shot back “NO. Let me explain this to YOU. I KNOW how prior authorizations work. I KNOW how to navigate them. I know that I filled on March 22nd. I KNOW that today is day 28 and my Morphine can LEGALLY be filled and that my insurance will cover it!

Medicaid will NOT cover an Opioid that is early. YOU are KNOWINGLY choosing to go by an incorrect date in YOUR computer and making me wait TEN DAYS and you are going to cause my level to shoot through the roof, send me into withdrawal by wrongly pulling me off of this medication and when I have a seizure and I am in the hospital I will make sure to call a lawyer so I can SUE (see what I did there?!) YOU AND this pharmacy! Even my *** app shows I filled on March 22nd!!! You’re NOT gonna shut me out just because you’re scared to do your job! I’m a PATIENT NOT a CRIMINAL!!!”

Needless to say, I had the undivided attention of Sue, every pharmacy employee, and customer in that store. This situation was wrong on so many levels and I wasn’t only fighting to get my opioid medication rightfully filled, to me, I was standing up for and fighting for each one of us that is bullied like this, shamed like this, and brushed off like this simply because we have Chronic Pain and need these medications to function at the bare minimum and have some semblance of a normal day! No more. I was DONE. I’d had it!

“I’ll just pay cash for it then. FILL IT!” I said. I took out my phone and called a family friend to come and pay for the medication as she had so kindly offered to do if this scenario happened.

From behind the counter I could hear a panicked Sue rambling on about “federal issue” and “Zit says the 29th but yeah it’s wrong”. Ahhh, see, she did KNOW she was doing me dirty! She thought I would just cower away and be gone! SHE didn’t want to deal with it and expected I would just go without my meds for 10 days!! Que mundo? In what world?

I finally heard one of the techs say to her “It IS due to be filled! You CAN and SHOULD fill it!”

Sue’s response was “ Ugh, I don’t care anymore! Just fill it and get here OUT of here!!!” I’ll count that as victory!

I’m the one of most patient, understanding, giving, calm, and forgiving people hobbling around, but when I am unwillingly put into a position that is seriously going to mess me up in ways that I shouldn’t be, when I’m going to be treated poorly, and I am FORCED to STAND UP FOR MYSELF in a way that requires me to be an itch with a b, I have no problem going right for the jugular! Too many times prior to this I’ve said nothing back, I’ve gone without meds and suffered, I’ve dealt with things because of other peoples bias, judgement, prejudiced, attitudes, etc., and I REFUSE to do it anymore, and the rest of you should, too!

From now on, instead of slinking away to silently suffer in ANY way, shape, or form we ALL need to sit right there and call our doctors, our insurance companies, our pharmacies, our advocates, our lawyers if need be! Chronic Pain Patients are NOT the enemy, we are NOT the problem! Talk with your doctors if you can and let them know what is going on out here! I told mine 5 of the 9 people that wrote the horrible CDC Guidelines no longer agree with what THEY wrote! He had no idea and was appalled! I’ve printed out National Pain Report articles and brought them to him at my visit! I tell him “ You need to be aware and educated not just about YOUR side of this, the doctor side, but also the patient side and what we are going through so you can be a good doctor and a good person. YOU need to sack up and HELP US! Maybe if we all work together, support each other, and back each other up we can make a change and help!”

I’m lucky I have a cool doctor that agrees!

I continue to navigate through Pas that are only there to try and make things so difficult and annoying, Medicaid hopes I will throw my hands up and just stop taking the Morphine. They don’t realize that I will NOT give up and I take it because I need to, not that I want to!

Fight back! Speak up! Whether it is spending almost 2 hours getting a medication or writing your politicians, contact your local news stations, make YouTube videos, talk to everyone, talk, fight, stand up in any and every way!!!

The pendulum is very slowly, but surely starting to swing back! Chronic Pain Patients, Acute Pain Patients, Post Surgical Pain Patients, Terminal/Hospice, Pallative Patients should all be placed separate from the Crisis and each category treated to their specific needs!!!

Good luck out there all of my fellow Pain Pals! I’m doing my best to educate, advocate, and just stand up to the BS for myself and all of you, too!

Since that incident with Sue, she has been all sunshine and roses to me, my meds get filled, and they don’t even take 4+ hours anymore either! It’s sad that it took me being a royal jerk, making phone call after phone call, writing strongly worded emails, giving 0’s on surveys and more to get results and to be treated like a patient and a human being!

I hope you enjoyed my story and I would love to hear yours down below! Hang there. One day a time! Keep fighting, we will get there, do NOT give up!!

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Authored by: Tracy Cabanting

Tracy Cabanting has been a Chronic Pain Patient for 15 years. The current climate towards Opioids and the resulting consequences of the national panic taking place has prompted her to begin writing pieces for National Pain Report, encourage those around her to advocate for CPPs, and to speak out in order to educate people on what is happening. Her dog Jasper helps her get through the rough pain days as well as YouTube. Tracy plans on expanding her writing and advocacy efforts in the near future.

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Richard Carlson

I have chronic pain from nerve damage after both hip replacements. No more pain meds for Richard Carlson, because of all the drug addicts in this country, they have destroyed it for people that truly need pain relief. I too have used NSAIDS, and have damaged my kidneys.They are toxic too your kidneys.I won’t forget Trump saying if your in the hospital for 3 days you come out as an addict.Very depressing to hear this incompetent statement.Oppiots do not destroy your kidneys
You have too be careful of any addictive med.People with wicked chronic pain have to be able to function. Without these meds,people cannot function other wise it’s time to leave this world living in wicked pain.

Steve

I have polyneuropathy. I’m on low dose oxy, 10/325. My doctor knows I need stronger oxys but is afaid of the CDC. All doctor’s in my State Arkansas. Will not give any more than 50 mil of morphine day. What do I do. I’m in enough pain my life is almost none existent because I am in so much pain in my feet. It all consuming. Please help..

My friend had a 2nd stroke a month ago, they took her out of the hospital after 3 wks bc her insurance would no longer let her be there, sent her to a assisted living Rehabilitation place. As soon as she arrived there they cut her anxiety meds in half & cut one dose out a day. The reason they gave her was so she would be more alert in physical therapy. What ! Everyone kns that when you’ve had a traumatic injury even if it’s a stroke ur going to freak out! her left side paralyzed but her thought process & speech hasn’t been affected . she still kns time place & when it is time for her meds, what strength her meds are. she doesn’t understand cuz she says they tell her in Physical Therapy she is meeting the goals for the shape that she’s in & that she would improve As She Goes. What I don’t understand is why did they cut her meds the day she arrived BC she hadn’t had physical therapy on arrival .so why use that as a basis to cut her meds in half? Nurse said it looks like they’re going to wean her off of the anxiety meds. During a time when she needs it the most? She’s used this meds for 30 yrs. They’re picking on a invalent now! This upset my friend tremendously. they said would have to do a psych eval before they would allow her to have her reg dose. Cya political move. They’re going to do a psych valve on a person who had 2 strokes to find out what? Bc she can carry on a normal conversation ,she kns what time it is, just to go in circles to make her fight for her own medication that she needs the most at this time. Talk About putting someone in the fight or flight mode , she’s already there & they’re making it worse. How many people that have Strokes, invalents, paraplegic, cancer, Etc have to fight for medication? it would have been better to spit in her face & walk off it’s the same kind of treatment.

Donna

Thank you for this. Have suffered withdrawals for Not standing my ground. Feeling yes just like a criminal instead of a CPP.

There is evidence to confirm most of my diagnoses. However also suffer from fibromyalgia and CFS. Just read there is now evidence to prove the CFS!

God bless ya!!!
D.S.

@Jess Agee… I find your situation unacceptable. First I would get an explanation from your doctor or his billing dept. as to why he says he no longer does PAs AND I would also call your insurance co about this. If anything, they should be reimbursing you. Have strength in this, these are your patients rights! Best of luck.

Dear Tracy, Bravo! Excellent writing, excellent point! excellent job in standing up for yourself and proving your patient rights and… excellent humor in your story! You are my hero! In my own experience I have been down that road also. Due to negligent pharmacists I have had to go through withdrawal twice. My med is covered by workers comp for the past 15 yrs and will be for my lifetime.
After 2 yrs of horrific treatment and irresponsible issues on the pharmacy’s part…. I now… Each month… control the whole process myself…I email my w/c rep to be sure she will be in her office to give approval on the day I bring my RX to the pharmacy. I attach a note to my RX. telling the pharmacy what day my script can be filled and that my rep will be waiting for their input for approval the day I hand them my RX.
I am only permitted to pick it up the fill on the 29th (or 30th) day of the month. The pharmacy will only permit me to bring in my script no more than 2 days prior to the fill date. Therefore, I have to go there twice, within 2 days no matter how I am feeling. It’s never ever easy to do that.
Also, another issue is that my Pain Doc will only give 30 day scripts even when if it is a 31 day month! I never ever have extra meds therefore those months I suffer greatly the last couple of days trying to stretch my meds out for that 31st day. That never happened before the CDC mess.
You give me courage to continue to stand up for myself. Thank you.

Researcher on PM

Debra M
Things are different in different states…or they tell people different things.
I’ve said the DEA has been cutting the amount of opioids PRODUCED every year since 2010.
The pharmacies in a lot of places are short on them, don’t have them at all because their “quota” is going to established patient’s.
The data is in…..prescription opioids have plummeted, & OD’s continue to rise.
Is the government changing their stance? NO.
They are continuing to crackdown on CPP’s & PRESCRIPTIONS, even though it’s PROVEN prescriptions are not the problem.
In the 2000’s Purdue committed the crime of “mislabeling”…they told Drs oxycodone was “safe” did not cause dependence, withdrawals or addiction. AND gave out oxycontin to people NOT IN PAIN.
They were sued, paid a couple of Mill, & made 2.3 BILLION on oxy ALONE in 2007. In 2008, they made 2.7 BILLION. The FDA left it on the market, because more than half of the FDA has stock in or is paid directly by Big Pharma.
NOW the Sackler family is being sued. (PURDUE).
Why NOW? The damage is done. Only true CPP’s can be hurt NOW.
The FDA, DEA, & now CDC (NOT their job to tell Drs how to do theirs..what does CDC stand for? Not “diseases” like addiction, but those that are CONTAGIOUS.
The DSM-5 ( BIBLE of INSURANCE & DRS) changed the definition of addiction to dependence..so you are a ADDICT if a CPP..
Now it’s a shortage of meds. Soon it will be openly declared all CPP’s are addicts. Drs don’t read the new DSM right away, but INSURANCE co’s will not pay.
What do CPP’s have in common? Disabled, Vets, usually older on Medicaid/MEDICARE.
Who pays these things? THE GOVERNMENT.
They don’t care how many wars you’ve served in or how many years you worked….if you are disabled NOW.

Sharon Ballard

Loved this artic! I have been a chronic pain sufferer for 11 years, finally going on opiates in 2009. I’ve had five back surgeries and and also suffer from chronic nerve pain. My new pain doctor has told me I will not be able to stay on my current level of pain medication, which is small compared to many others I’ve talked with. I don’t know what to do.

Atterom

I love this story. We have to fight. This is so absurd. They are linking us in with 20 year old doing fentynol on the streets. We are 40+ year old with major chronic pain and just want to love our lives as best we can!

Researcher

You see a Dr. every THREE months for a schedule 2 drug? Why is your morphine $200? MS Contin is $30 a month…or was. You have insurance, Medicaid.
Many pharmacists won’t back down, won’t give you your prescription back for hours, then write DO NOT FILL across the top…for one of the most painful conditions known to mankind.
I recently had a pharmacist tell me my neurontin was NOT Schedule 2 (duh) but they ARE TREATING IT AS IF IT WAS.
What?
When is National Pain Report going to do a article on suicides, suicides counted as OD’s, & people dying of bone cancer with ZERO pain meds?
Serious issues.
If you think standing up to your pharmacist is the way to go, fine, good luck. Call/write your Congressman. Who do you think passed these laws?
I’ve never heard of anyone getting a response.
Nevada sounds like a great state to be in if PA for $30 meds is your issue.

Adam Selene

Tracy Cabanting, excellent !! I am lucky to have a Great physician at the VA, who is conscientious and works with me. I get my refills at the VA Medical Center pharmacy and things are going great. It’s time we all stood up for our legal and justified medications and not let self-important asshats control our lives or cause us unneeded pain and mental anguish.

Kris Aaron

An aggressive “stand your ground” approach may work for an older WHITE customer. But don’t try that if you have darker skin — the chances are very good that you’ll be arrested and dragged out of the store in handcuffs by the police.
I recommend dressing well, speaking softly and asking politely to speak to the store manager. Always bring documentation proving that the prescription can and should be filled on the date you specify. Always remain calm, and ask to speak to the manager. If that doesn’t get the response you’re looking for, ask for the name of the regional supervisor and contact that person directly.
Record calls and visits on your phone with the date and time. If the pharmacist makes verbal promises, record them for later playback. Copies of the incident can be forwarded to the pharmacy’s corporate headquarters – no business wants this kind of bad publicity.
Treat your opiate prescriptions the same way you would the purchase of an expensive car. It’s a business transaction that can and will cause you excessive pain and suffering if anyone at the pharmacy is in a bad mood or simply doesn’t feel like dealing with a complicated request.
One final issue: Please let us know the name of the pharmacy. Incidents like yours create negative publicity that can cost corporations million$ in lost revenue. Readers with opioid prescriptions will benefit from learning what pharmacy chains to avoid when “miscommunication” occurs.
Thanks so much for sharing what almost turned out to be a nightmare – it’s past time opioid-dependent pain patients began standing up for our right not to be treated like addicts running a scam!

Lisa Hess

This is for Angela and everyone else who goes too Walgreens. The person who waited on you lied. How do I know this? Because of the same scenario I had with them. I’ve had service from three different Walgreens in 14 years. One closed down, so I went to the next closest in the town next to mine. I went in, asked to speak to the managing pharmacist, I told him about my illnesses and why I was on these medications for pain. I also did this with my first pharmacy and my current so they know who I am and why I am there. Also, and in the best interest for myself, I scheduled my next doctor’s appointment for my prescriptions a week early to hand to the pharmacist just so there would be enough time to get the PAs. After two years with Walgreens #2 I was suddenly told that because I lived in a different town they could not fill my opioid prescriptions. That sent me to one in my town which is further away. But I went, did the same practice as I had the other two pharmacies and also told them what happened at Walgreens #2. There I was told that was, indeed, not the case and shouldn’t have been turned away. I’ve been with pharmacy #3 ever since. One of my meds is written for 28 days in case there’s any delays of having it filled. However, with my morphine ER script, they make me wait 30 days but because I bring the scripts in a week early the PAs are already done so I have no problem waiting. However, I was recently informed by the pharmacist that all of this will change soon due to new policies of the company. I had asked if the new rules of Medicare could put a pause in getting my scripts filled could I pay out of pocket? They said yes I could, but it was my PM doctor who said if I did that he could lose his license. There are no laws yet here in my state that say what I can take or when I can receive my meds, that my friends is the insurance making these rules and doctors who are too afraid to stand up and be heard to the DEA Raids.

Kristin

As I lay here reading this I am 2.5 years out from a gastric bypass surgery that was supposed to change my life for the better. I have PCOS and other chronic illnesses that made losing weight and keeping it off impossible no matter how hard I pushed myself at the gym or how little or what I ate. It was a last resort decision. I also have POTS and EDS which up until the surgery had caused me some trouble but nothing like I was about to experience. The surgery was a mess. My heart stopped twice on the table and I was literally drowning in my own fluids. It took almost 24 hrs for me to come out of anesthesia and when I did I wished I never woke up because from that day forward the pain in my body has been like nothing i have ever experienced. Sure I wear tiny undies now but I live my life in my bed because the chronic pain is unbearable and unmanaged. My primary doc prescribes me Norco the lowest dose possible which I am grateful to atleast have that. The problem is individuals with EDS tend to metabolize pain meds much faster than those without and ofcourse I am one of those people. An ER doc figured this out when she gave me a dose of Dilaudid during a kidney stone debaucle big enough to knock out a horse and I was still crying in pain. Add to this the insane neck/headaches that I have 24/7 which they say are migraines but I have had continuously for the last probably year and a half and all I want to do is find an ounce of relief. Specialists have sent me away telling me I am too complicated even for them, ky doc is afraid to prescribe anything stronger due to the lovely which hunts now, and god forbid I show up at an ER and explain the situation I am immediately told they wont help me because I have chronic pain. I went from running races at almost 300 lbs to a wheelchair in order to be out of my bed in public with my family at 37. I pray for a change every day!!!!! I am not an addict I am hurting!!!

Robert

Simply fantastic story and happy for you in so much as you won a personal victory over an oppressive self inflated egotistical nazi.

Sue sounds like the type of individual that embraces the delusional power over life and death senecio. Her own lack of self esteem reminds me of how some individuals that work for the TSA love to impose their will to hold people up at airport security.
She has little in life but this illusion, but this is the unfortunate result of an amazing overreaching government infrastructure that believes they can control every single aspect of our lives from cradle to grave.

Donna Collins

When I moved my new Dr took me off my two pain meds I’ve been taking for 12yrs, because of opioid epidemic I was told, I went thru hell was not given anything for withdrawal I didn’t know what was happening to me.I was given some pain meds that doesn’t work synthetic bs I stay in bed all day this is not life and I don’t want to be here anymore talking to this dr don’t help she doesn’t care

Donna Collins

GMmCVC, I don’t know how to post this but I was taking off two pain meds when I moved I took for 12yrs I was not given anything for withdrawal and med given don’t work hardly I stay in bed all day and really don’t want to be here anymore I don’t know what to do

Renee Beyers

Way to go!! It is extremely frustrating when they act so superior. I now feel like I’m a criminal just because my dr. retired and the 15 dr’s that have turned me down since they’re the ones doing it now. But Tracy I know how the pharmacist can be too because I did get opiates for my chronic pain for 19 years before my dr. retired now I just wish I had the chance to go a couple rounds with them. Still trying to figure out if I need to sell my home and find a good doctor. But where? I really don’t think I will ever get them back and life is really not good without them. I write every Politian I can as often as I can but I still think it’s a very dire situation for a lot of us pain patients. Hang in there everybody.

Gail Honadle

400 Words

Prescriptions Aren’t the Problem

Doctors “over-prescribing” opioids did not cause our “drug crisis.” Nearly half of all overdoses don’t involve opioids at all. Among remaining drug-related deaths in 2017, half involved illicit drugs — imported fentanyl and heroin. Only about 18,000 deaths involved a “prescription opioid” — and most of those also involved multiple illegal drugs and alcohol. Medical exposure is not the problem.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says most addicts begin to abuse alcohol and drugs in their teens or early 20s – before they encounter opioids. Contrast that with folks over age 55. Seniors are prescribed opioids for pain three times more often than youth under age 18. But seniors have the lowest overdose rates of any age group. Kids now overdose six times more often.

We do have an addiction crisis in America. But it’s related to lack of care, not prescribing. Prescriptions to people in pain are rarely involved in this tragedy. Restricting drug supply and counting pills won’t help. Forcing pain patients off the only medications that work won’t help.

Restrictive policies are now driving pain management doctors out of practice across America — and driving patients into agony, disability, and sometimes suicide when they are deserted. Most of what we hear in media about opioids and addiction is flat out wrong.

We know what is really needed. Politicians just don’t want to pay for it.

Nobody knows how to “cure” addiction. We may never know. The best we can do is early prevention and later harm reduction. Some educational programs starting in Middle School don’t work (“Just Say No” was a total failure). But others have shown results. For people already addicted, the most effective harm reduction is Medication Assisted Treatment (Methadon

Richard A “Red” Lawhern PhD

Twitter: @Lawhern1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/red.lawhern
My Publications: http://www.face-facts.org/Lawhern
Personal Website: http://www.lawhern.org

Tricia Devlin

Tracy, I hear you loud & clear! My issues are usually dealing with the office gals at my pain clinic! My pharmacy treats me well 95% of the time. They have called the gals at the clinic, even my county nurse has called. It’s extremely difficult to deal with anything when you’re in pain. In fact, the frustration increases my pain. People don’t realize a trip to the pharmacy hurts. Thank you for your courage, I hope, with educating the public someone will finally stop this stupidity!

Larry & Anita Loban

Thank you for sharing, Tracy. I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I went through something similar when refilling our pain meds until we discovered that our pharmacy issues a receipt that contains the prescription number and the date we pick it up. Each time we go to refill our prescriptions we take our receipt from the previous month to prove the date that we picked up our last prescription on. So far this is preventing considerable problems that we have had in the past.

Tracy Cabanting

Thank you to each of you that responded to this! Whether it was sharing your own story, your opinion, etc., I was in tears reading them all day!!
There is so much anger, frustration, and passion in your words…take that and make phone calls to your local representatives, news stations, whomever!
I’m so sorry for all that each of us is going through.
I have many more pieces on the way and I look forward to all of your comments!
YOU ARE ALL AMAZING!!!

Sue

The way the powers that be set up these rules has only given Medicaid and all the insurance companys an opportunity to save money by not paying for our pain medication. I have stage 4 cancer and severe pain. As ive said before; “I dont consider my pain relief to be any more important than that of chronic pain patients. Just saying, it is a hassle for cancer patients too. I get furious when I hear the rules dont apply to cancer. This abuse is beyond belief. My best friend is a retired RN and did hospice care. That was 17 yrs ago. She is appalled and in shock by all of this.

I had a long comment written explaining all the problems I have had getting pain meds but I knew that it needed major proof reading and Im in too much pain to due it, so I deleted most of my comment. I dont believe for one minute that those responsible for this are unaware of the misery they are causing. Their no stupid, they are evil and dont care. Politics is their agenda. They will continue to support and sympathize with famous people like Tyler Skagg’s who are getting the drugs illegally; while keeping the truth out of the media.

Ronna Watson

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! That was inspirational! I hope everyone who reads this will feel empowered. We are not criminals. We should not be treated as criminals and it is malpractice to under treat pain patients.

Boom!! Yay! We all have to fight for ourselves and each other…but we shouldn’t have to! As a retired nurse…I admit…didn’t expect to be disabled at 54 AND didn’t see the future of medicine and the “Oath” Doctors take to “Do no harm” not being practiced!! It is insanity at its worst!! We all seem to fight the same battles…the “drilling” by pharmacists…peeing in a cup…eyerolls, unwarranted judgement…insomnia…pain 24/7 even with the medicine we have to fight for!!
Your story…shake my head does not begin to express my disdain!
It is ludicrous…and only boils down to one sick pharmacist!!!
I also blame the media…don’t get me started!! If it wasn’t inhumane enough not to give meds to CPP…people dying of cancer…beyond anything I EVER saw coming…I’m speechless…
Thank you for sharing…and fighting…Blessings, Stacy

get the phone number of the company that’s running the controlled substance database in your state. You can call them & complain about what is happening & even put good ol Sue on the phone with them & they can tell her when you filled your medication. They created that crap so we’ll just use it to fight the system & show that this controlled substance database system is horrible & how were mistreated by it. Every state has a phone number to call that belongs to the controlled substance database. The pharmacist messed up the controlled substance database & I even used it against them by saying here’s their phone number & I will call them if you do not correct you’re mistakes. I wanted copies of all of it. You have a right 2 controlled substance database. It’s part of your medical records. Always copy your prescription & then when you turn it into the pharmacy ask for a copy that they’re sending in, not the sheet that they print out that has that you filled it but an actual photo of script. use that next time show the fill date this what it was last time & this is what it should be this time. If it’s a commercial Pharmacy they’ll make you sign a piece of paper but you have the legal right to it. I lost my pain meds bc of thier errors, no doctor would look at what i got corrected but i have a file of whats correct, these days u never kn when it come in handy. My trust of system is deleted. Its our Heiny on the line. Also get copy of every urine test & make a file. We r being condemned, so u better have ur paper work in line. Its you against them. The system sandwiches us between doctor / pharmacist. Who do u think they believe?

Lesa Steele

Thank you Tracy for sharing your story and for encouraging us all to stand up! I truly believe if we stood up TOGETHER we would b a force the government would have to listen to. So far, we are much to splintered. Once we shout with one united voice, we will be heard. Millions of voices cannot b ignored. I also am a chronic intractable (med-resistant) pain patient for 40yrs.

Thomas Kidd

I appreciate your comment very much. I am as you are. Enigma
Enough is enough.

Katie Olmstead

My back is hurting too much to sit more at the computer so not reading through all the other stories. Yup. We all have them. Then are INSANE. I do have an excellent doctor and pharmacy but the INSURANCE. Now I am 65, it’s a whole new messed up ball game. Dear god, I had to contact my Part D provider over a simple med I occasionally take. They wouldn’t fill it without, of course, a PA. My doctor’s office called to tell me that no, he was told that it doesn’t need a PA but I need to go to a different pharmacy. What? So I spoke to someone at the insurance company. She said I needed a PA, I didn’t need a PA, I needed to change pharmacies, I didn’t need to change pharmacies. It was like a stupid game. Finally, she said she personally would straighten it out with my doctor (isn’t he lucky? this is how he spends his time??) and she would call me back. We shall see! Don’t even get me started on how my Lidocaine patches are not covered under Part D. They want me to take more opioids??? Who has the energy for all this crap????

Holly

Good for you Tracy! I had a fill in pharmacist for the last 3 months who thought he was God…He tried to do the same thing….told me I was too early on the 28th day. You best beleive I got my meds that day. I had to get the manager of the pharmacy but i got my meds! Things are soooooo bad!

Kudos to you!

Jess Agee

I’ve been dealing with this same thing! I’m on Medicaid & take Morphine Er, I get PAs every 3 mths & have been since 2017. My Dr moved to an office closer to me & I followed. I still get the same medication but one thing that changed is that MY DR DOES NOT DO PA ON NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION! That’s exactly what I was told & no reason why!? So what do I do in this situation? Most haven’t herd or been in my position that I know of. So now I pay out of pocket & I can’t afford it, but I also can’t do without the medication. I to have several chronic pain conditions & honestly I’d off myself without them. I’m at a loss here. I’m thinking if he’s not doing pre authorizations is he going to continue to give me my medication? He has since , but I go see him on September 4th & I’m worried. I don’t understand why he did the PA at his old office, but not now!? I feel lucky in these times to even receive pain medication bc I know so many don’t, so do I say something idk I’m just unsure!? Have anyone else had this situation happen to them? Thank you for any advice & ty for this article.

Wanda Lewis

Y’all know what conclusion that I have come to ? Y’all are wasting our time. Look I have had Trigeminal Neuralgia which turned into Bilateral Trigeminal Neuralgia quickly. Then in a little over a year I developed CRPS, COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME. Now let me stop here and also tell anybody that REALLY GIVES TWO HOOTS ! Yes by now you know how aggravated I am. I’m going to make a very long story short. I challenge anyone of y’all to pull any and all of my medical records and see my path. I have a great high level of patience to pain very high. I worked in this pain for almost 2 years without pain meds. Meaning I kept on working through a hell that I never knew existed. Pardon my spelling, I can spell well I am just very aggravated right now and well spelling is the least of my worries. Not only was I living a hell but so was my family and friends. To the point that my weak Husband Mr. Soldier boy left me after a 32 year marriage. So now I’m left to feeling like I no longer measure up to my husband, I can’t work like this, I can’t get any help from anybody professional. Oh I thank God for my 2 grown children because it seemed to me that they were the ones oh and my few Doctors also they cared. My Doctor’s hands were tied other than they could get me help with pills, pills and more pills. This was a world I didn’t know. Yes I know I am rambling but I am tired of talking, researching crying and on and on. This problem for me can’t wait. I have been the emergency room for pain 4 times in 12 years yes 4 times in 12 years. My Doctor’s all of which tried to help me that I was fortunate to have is great Doctors. They were my advocates. Well my Daughter was also cuz my son went off to college and from college he went to serve our great country. My Daughter stopped her life other than working to help me. Was this fair I know not. She wrote letters to every Big Hospital to the Govener of FL to every program she could find. Well that’s it I

Jill

I’ll never forget a couple years ago when all thus crap started I was denied my pain pills at 10pm by the pharmacy because the Rx was dated for the next day. But that’s only 2hrs from now and I can’t get back tomorrow, I exclaimed. I was astounded at the stupidity of it. Little did I know how bad it would get, how bad it now is. My first experience being treated as a drug dealer. Unfortunately, not my last.

Vesta Ard

Been there. Done that. Worth the fit!

Janna Crickmore

Wow. I’m going to channel you next time I get the run around. Oh I mean right now! Called a pharmacy in California from North Carolina. Said they would fill my monthly rx if it was sent electronically. Called a few days before and another pharmacist said no problem. But guess what? Day it was due the pharmacist said we can’t do this it’s against the law. I’m in California for my daughter who had a brain tumor removed. Not like I’m on a Caribbean cruise. Last pharmacist says the other two were lying. Thanks CVS for being completely irresponsible

Angela Darlene

I’m surprised they even let you pay cash. Walgreens will not let you pay cash for a legitimate, legal opoid prescription. If the insurance won’t cover it, they have a policy that does not allow any opoid prescription that doesn’t have insurance be filled. I don’t understand how they are allowed to do it. It seems illegal to me. Does anyone know about this policy? And, is it legal? If you don’t have insurance or your insurance won’t cover it, their policy is to keep the prescription and not allow the patient to get their legal meds.

Stacy Cooper

I too have had this happen, I’m very grateful I have a good doctor and his staff that are willing to fax 50 pages to my insurance carrier plus days of follow up to justify my PA. This time I’ve been denied because they want to know what non opioid meds I’ve tried and non pharmacological interventions. I’m now prepared to be able to cover the lapse of time between PA’s but the panic I went through the first time I went to my pharmacy to pick up my meds and had to pay cash is something I want to be in control of. I think about all those abandoned by their doctors and it pisses me off. My pharmacy told me last time they would not allow me to pay cash again, that if my insurance won’t approve it, they will not fill my doctor’s script. That’s got to be illegal but I’m in California and what this state gets away with is unethical. When did the pharmacy become so powerful over our doctor’s? As we file a second appeal and wait for my PA I can’t rest. This is life or death, but we don’t matter.

Regina

Thank you for sharing. I’m a chronic pain patient of 30 plus years. Having traumatic auto accident. 1987 my first discectomy/fusion of my lower spine. 4 discs were crushed, cracked and or broken. Then my neck in 2013. Another accident, another discectomy of 2 discs repaired. . Pain management became my life. I certainly couldn’t have lived on opioids all those years. I had to try many other options to live in pain. It’s only been the last few years my pain levels left me no other options besides pain meds. And my quality of life was coming back to good. I could be somewhat “normal” again! I felt my life was mine again. I was beyond happy. I had no idea how hard it was about to get. I have been treated like a low life junkie. Pharmacists have been the worst. I’ve been called names, Told I was stupid, a loser, etc. and blacklisted by large pharmacy’s for standing up for my rights. Financially drained for having to pay cash for the reasons as the author.
People assume to much without knowing what a person has been through. If I was going to be an addict, I would have been one YEARS ago. Yet a pharmacist tech like Sue, sees the word opioid. I’m condemned before they even know my name. Many seem to enjoy the power they have behind that position. They don’t just control our meds. They control our lives. It will come back around to them someday. Isn’t it easier to help us, instead of hurting us? It trickles down to everyone in our lives. We are not the enemy.
Chronic pain changes a person enough but then to be treated like a criminal is devastating. It’s much easier to give up. I thought about it often. But I refuse to do that to my loved ones. If more pain patients stand strong, together. We will survive.
This is a short, condensed part of my story. Thank you again Tracy.

VICTORIA FONSECA

Good for you Tracy we all need to stand together just like those mothers who stand against opioids who have lost a love one,and I feel for those parents but people need to be accountable for their own actions,they chose to take illegal drugs knowing the consequences that it can be fatal,so they need to stop blaming pharma,and doctors and concentrate on the street drugs and get them off the street,and they need to separate true chronic pain patients who need their medicines in order to function in life and take their med’s the way it is prescribed then from the illegal opioids that is killing people

Tanya

BLESS YOU!!!! You go girl!!!! Oh let me count the times I’ve expressed the EXACT same words and had similar scenerio’s!!! And may I add how crudely, shaming and cruel our ER’s can be to us? And our own doctors that get ‘scared ‘ to actually do their job???? Finish what they start???? I had a WONDERFUL, CARING and UNDERSTANDING pain doctor who unfortunately retired on me( shame on him! Lol😧😠😳😊!!), who used to tell me how our world, medical world was going to shit and would prescribe me lortabs because we are lowering my pain pump to be removed but ‘just in case’ I felt withdrawals over the weekend to take the lortabs because, and I quote,”… these we doctors around here won’t do anything”, unquote. ( I now have a new pain
doctor who feels the same. What happened to “… do no harm “??? I could go on but I’ll spare you!! Just know this: I appreciate you standing up for yourself and all of us that are subjected to this all too often. By the way, I would love it if you could pm me any resources that could help me join this fight? Thank you and please continue to keep your head held high!!

Sincerely, Tanya 😘

Jeff

I politely fought back two years ago and the pharmacist refused to fill my scripts permanently.
said he did not feel comfortable and put me on a blackball list. The Law says the Pharmacist
can refuse to fill if for any reason they feel uncomfortable about it and that gives them a lot of power. I was forced to change pharmacies and that turned out to be very hard as several would not take and new CP patients and others refused to sell any opiates at all.
My Dr’s office had to call around and find me a pharmacy that would fill it for me.

Each pharmacy Chain have their own Corporate rules they follow as well as the Federal and state requirements. One large chain had a mandatory min 24 hour waiting period. I had to leave the written script with them and then they would contact my Doctor and request additional information and justification. This was causing delays and with the weekend it could take 3-4 days to actually pick-up my script. I changed to another large chain and they refused to accept the paper script in advance.
This Year In Arizona electronic scripts for opiates was mandated making it much easier so far.

Cindy

REPLY TO JOHN SHNARR’S POST AND KAREN’S AND ALICE’S POSTS –

John,

each state has its own laws for what day an opioid Rx can be filled. You should find out yours.

I live in FL and it’s Day 29. I calendar every upcoming day 29 the way I calendar any other appt.

Karen –

I have to assume that your mail order is not for opioids. Too many laws would prevent any pharmacy from taking Rx’s ahead of time — plus no doctor would write more than a 30 day supply for them and hope to keep his/her license.

Alice –

If you’re getting mail order, then I can’t imagine that includes opioids. As to opioids, the CVS near me hasn’t had them in stock enough times that I don’t even try them any more, even though they are my Preferred Pharmacy under my insurance. Instead, I go to Walgreens right across the street from CVS, which treats me extremely well and has what I need in stock virtually all the time. And so it’s worth paying more. The one or two times they were out of stock, they said they expected more in a day or two. As opposed to CVS which would say a couple of weeks. The Walg’s staff has always been amazing to me. They are severely understaffed and dont’ have a separate pickup line, but those issues are due to corporate policies and out of the store’s control. I complain to Walg’s corporate often, and praise the pharmacy staff for working under such difficult conditions.

I also never had any problem at Costco pharmacy and you don’t have to be Costco member to use their pharmacy. I used them for a year or so — a few years ago — before Walgreens.

Cindy

REPLY TO DENISE BAULT’S POST – Denise, NO pharmacy that I’ve been to will take an opioid Rx as you wanted them to do. I feel the same way as you do, but it’s not just your pharmacy. A few months ago I showed up a day early by mistake and had to take it home and bring it back the next day. My current pharmacy has great staff who know how much pain I’m in and how hard it is for me to get out. But they can’t take it a day early even to sit on it, even if they really want to.

I schedule my monthly pain manager appts for a cycle that’s about 2 weeks before my Rx refill date. That gives me a cushion to postpone the appt if I’m too sick to go out, and makes the pharmacy day far enough away that it’s a stand-alone day with no other appts.

If your doctor doesn’t like writing Rx’s so far before the next fill date, they can always write on the Rx: “Do not fill before ____x date”.

Hope this helps

Cindy

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are extremely lucky to have such a kind doctor, esp being on Medicaid.

I will say however that when I brought in the NPR article about the new CDC Guideline author statement, and about the FDA statement, as support to get relief from my forced taper, my pain manager already knew about those statements.

Far too many people are afraid to make a scene, to stand up for themselves, in spite of being subject to all kinds of abuse.

But, making a scene can work wonders. I did it once and it was great. Making sure that all the other customers heard my very valid complaint got me what I wanted. The mistreatment stopped immediately.

But doing so must be strategic. You don’t want to get banned from a store forever and must be prepared for that risk.

In the author’s case, she had nothing to lose, and her valid claim of a big lawsuit against the pharmacy had to have helped her.

Roland Chalifoux

I am so proud of you!
I am an Interventional pain specialist in Wheeling West Virginia and this crap happens all the time.
Our biggest culprit is Humana.
They spend so much money advertising that they won’t pay for patients Control Substances.
Crazy world.
Can’t wait to retire

James Harrison

I know what you have been through as I had the same problem. I now use OPMS Gold extract capsules that are equal to 77.43mg morphine and don’t require a prescription. They actually work.better on chronic pain. Acute pain sometime makes me want oxycodone again. But most days I prefer the OPMS kratom extract from the local head shop.or gas station. Zion Herbals has extract tablets that are just as good if you decide to try them. I can give you a 30% off discount code that is mostly reserved for veterans and kratom advocates but the owner said I could give it to you. You don’t need Drs and Big Pharma until the FDA wins it’s anti-kratom Nazi crusade. Hopefully they will follow science and drop.this distortion of the truth. Kratom saved my life and it’s high powered extract actually gave me back my life. ✌💖🗽James Harrison

Jo Worbetz

I feel hopeless-it seems that the mere mention of oxycodone (5 mg-lowest dosage possible) strikes FEAR in these so-called doctors/pharmacists.
I don’t know who to turn to. I live in NJ-I starting seeing that obtaining my much needed pain meds to be an issue when , he started reducing my dosage. I have had 5 spinal fusions and most recently, broke my ankle in 3 places!(A year of recovery and my ankle will never be the same!) I had my first spinal fusion at 17 years old. 40 years later I am STILL fighting the system. i was on Percocet for break-through pain relief and the Fentanyl patch for extended relief-I wasn’t “High”-just able to function day to day. I even exercised 5 dats a week and was able to get things done.
Now my life is a disaster….no more pain meds/constant Chronic Pain, anxiety, depression and 20 lbs heavier. All I want is to find a pain mgmt doctor who will give me these meds so I can function.
What happened to the oath “do no harm?” These physicians don’t give a damn about their patients, only their reputation.
How can I find a doctor locally that will help? I am desperate-sad, lonely, constant pain, suicidal-a mere shell.
I don’t WANT to take these meds but I NEED to!!!
Can anyone help me? Please email me at: spachamuf@gmail.com
My situation is dire-please..if ANYONE can help me, please reach out. Thank you so very much-Jo

Janice

My pharmacy doesn’t go by the last date filled anymore. I found out the hard way that they now go by the date it was last picked up. Gee, you’d think if they changed the rules that they would at least tell you. Now I pick up my meds on the day I’m out.
I told my doctor about it because I don’t have even a 2 day leaway. Her answer, “we don’t want patients stock piling these pills. I said 2 days worth isn’t stock piling. The time frame is so small for me to get my meds now, it allows for nothing to go wrong. Like, my doctor didn’t respond right away, all of one day to the evening of the next day sending in the Rx, and I don’t drive at night anymore. Boom, missed a dose.
My car battery died on another month, and I couldn’t get there right away. The next month I was so upset about it all, I couldn’t drive. A friend picked it up for me.
I’ll have to purposely miss a dose here and there in order to get a 2 day leaway back. So I suffer and have enormous anxiety every month when I try to fill my meds. For 12 years I never had a problem. Same doctor, same pharmacy, same medication. Nothing changed with me. It’s all because of their damned rules that keep changing and they don’t have the courtesy to even let you know.

Kristen

I finally made the switch which was strongly suggested by my PCP from CVS to a small independent phamacy.My experience with CVS was a nightmare.I had been filling my monthly Pain Meds and Non pain meds for 10 years! All was ok until two last year when they started shorting me my Morphine and Percocet.I would return home to them calling saying they had a mishap and I needed to go back to get the rest!,Really!! How the hell did they miscount 60 out of 120 of my Percocet and 30 out of 90 for Morphine!! To top it off they adviced my PCP that another RX Carisoprodol they didn’t feel comfortable filling, seriously took them 10 years later.My insurance was paying half for that particular script and I paid the rest.I get 15 a month.Those A – holes at CVS need to stop playing Dr and mind their bussiness.Every Month was an issue until I finally bailed.The Pharmacy which is independently Owned has been a blessing.I never have any issues at all.I go in when they call saying they are available for pick-up or they offer free delivery.They are polite and don’t treat me like a Junkie.CVS also tryed withholding my med when they were due.Too long to get into but they are playing with fire when me the Patient started have irregular heartbeats and BP spiking.I did finally get it but I immediately contacted a Friend who is a well known Attorney where I live and explained my situation.This is happening far too much and it has to stop.We should not be treated any less than the Patient filling Synthroids,Insulin,Blood Thinners Etc. Now that I’m finally comfortable with the pharmacy I go is,still have to worry every month when I see my Dr.I have been reduced several times and not sure what’s in store this up coming week.Always a prob though I’m very happy with my Dr like many we never know what to expect.

mkw

Luckily for me I’ve never had a problem with pharmacy in all the 22years of taking pain meds. I wish I could say the same for the PM doc I’ve been seeing the last 5-6 years! He’s treated me less than a human most of the time, spending maybe 2-3 minutes with me at my every 2 month appointments. I thought at first he just wanted to make sure I wasn’t a doctor shopper or addict. He’s never changed though! He has cut my meds & gives me the same old rhetoric about the government wanting to rid the world of pain meds altogether. I’m too old, tired & scared to try & find a new one that might have compassion toward patients! My chosen profession was Respiratory Therapist & had to retire at 51 due to health problems. After 7surgeries in 7 years & never being able to get my pain level down I knew I’d never be able to go back. I still can’t understand the way patients are treated these days, myself included! My PM doc now has a PA that is kind, seems to care about my problems, but I still can’t bring myself to ask her if my meds can ever be increased again! I too have arthritis everywhere (plus other problems) but he spouted off that arthritis was not to be treated with pain meds per the CDC! I wish everyone good luck & God’s speed on this journey!