My Story: Profiled by Walgreens

My Story: Profiled by Walgreens

I recently relocated to my hometown, hooked up with a new pain management specialist, and got my prescription for roxycodone like I have been doing for the past five years, religiously, every month.

I then went into a Walgreen’s and handed them the prescription. I asked if they had the medication in stock and the technician replied, “Yes we do.”

Jason Warren

Jason Warner

I was so relieved to hear the word “Yes”, but then a nightmare ensued.

“We have a 72 hour fill policy to make a decision if we want to honor and fill it or not,” she informed me.

She also said I must talk to the pharmacist.

I said to myself THREE DAYS to get a prescription filled?

I should have left right then and there, but I had no idea what was to follow.

The pharmacist came over and conducted some type of invasive interview with me about personal and confidential information that was absolutely not acceptable. I knew exactly what he was doing, he was profiling me. Because I was a new customer at this pharmacy and the pharmacist did not know me, I decided to go along with this non-appropriate “interview.”

I had a copy of my MRI results to let him review my conditions (which I should never, ever have to do under any circumstance — especially to a pharmacist). I believe because of this undue intrusiveness that Walgreens may have violated privacy laws between me and my doctor, but I am not sure.

The pharmacist didn’t even bother to read the MRI results and just threw it onto the counter. I found that extremely rude and disrespectful to handle a medical document in the manner that he did. He then informed me that he would let me know later, “If I decide to honor your prescription.”

Who is this pharmacist to dictate this to me? Who does he think he is, God? I left and never did I feel so humiliated, violated, and angry over what I had just went through with a damn pharmacist!

The nightmare only got worse. Four hours later, the pharmacist called on the phone and said, “I cannot fill your prescription because you did not fall under our ‘Good Faith Refill Policy’ guidelines.”

What? I then asked, “Okay, then I want to know where is this policy with explanations and reasons as to why you will not fill my prescription?”

The pharmacist told me that I could come and pick up my prescription, and with an arrogant tone added, “Walgreen’s policy dictates that I do not have to disclose the reasons or explain to you why I am refusing to fill your prescription. Plus, I have added you to the Walgreens’ ‘Do Not Fill’ list for this specific medication. You cannot go to any Walgreen’s to try to fill this medication.”

I am now in their computer system for being a victim in this sad war.

I went and picked up my prescription from the pharmacist, telling him, “Who do you think are, God? You had no right treating me the way you did, and shame on you for working for a company that obviously has no clue about what chronic pain sufferers go through just to get out of bed in the morning.”

I left in disgust and quite angry, but lost at the same time. What do I do? The undue anxiety and stress that Walgreens imbued into me is something that I will never forget.

1024px-WalgreensonPalmWhat bugs me the most about the Walgreens nightmare is that many chronic pain sufferers out there like me are being systematically profiled by this company. I want my name off that Do Not Fill list.

If anyone is interested, look up Walgreens’ policy online and you will be shocked about their so-called guidelines. One of their stupid policy guidelines says that if the customer’s doctor is too far away from the pharmacy they can refuse to fill it.

Are you kidding me?

On a good note, I eventually found a pharmacy that filled my prescription without any questions whatsoever.

Walgreen’s is the ABSOLUTE worst, and I am fairly certain many of you out there can add countless other pharmacies and pharmacists to that “worst” list as well. I am also interested in knowing if there is a class action lawsuit against Walgreens for discrimination and illegal profiling.

We must also hold the DEA accountable for their reckless disregard and the thoughtless aftermath that has fallen unto the countless chronic pain sufferers out there.

The atmosphere that the DEA, pharmacies, and doctors have created for chronic pain sufferers is unacceptable. New laws and legislation must be passed to protect the rights of every chronic pain sufferer out there from any bias, racial, or prejudiced views when it comes to getting our prescriptions filled. They have taken away so much from us that we need this forum so that our voices can be heard and get our rights back.

12_7.jpgJason Warner lives in Nevada.

National Pain Report invites other readers to share their stories with us.

Send them to editor@nationalpainreport.com

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

Authored by: Jason Warner

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Sheila

I just saw another patient management. I think this guy was insane! First off there is no such disease as fibromyalgia. Next thing I heard is him explaining to me what it is. Huh! And the only way he’ll treat me is if I’ll let him “dig around in my back”

I’ve had trigger point injections x 2 and both times they had to bring in the crash cart because of an extreme reaction to meds given. But my biggest question is how is that helping my fibromyalgia. It’s not.

I was also told that the medicine I’m on now doesn’t work for fibromyalgia. Oh really have news for that doctor I can prove it works. I morning changing my Fentanyl patch I forgot to remove the protective backing from patch(I put a transderm patch over the Fentanyl patch to keep it on) less than an hr. later I was in agony until I realized what I hadn’t done. I took off the protective barrier and within 2 1/2 hrs my feet stopped hurting so I could walk again. In about 4 hrs I was back to what I call functioning. So yes the Fentanyl patches work for fibromyalgia. I’m on 50mcg q 48hrs with a breakthrough medicine when I travel of 10 mg percocet/325 mg. acetaminophen. It’s the only way I can survive. Because it’s not living it’s existing. And there have been times that I have asked myself is this really worth it. No one believing you are in so much pain you just want to die! Thank God for my grandkids otherwise I would be long gone from this exists.

I’m a retire nurse and before I retired I worked with cancer patients and I watched these poor people going through hell with the pain they felt never dreaming I would be in the same pain boat 10 yrs. down the line.

So what does the FDA and DEA do they come after the legitim pain patient because they LOST the war on drugs in the streets. But now since they have switched their focus to us. Heroin use has gone through the roof! There have got to be a better way to deal with we the chronic pain patient.

dave

Elaine- your comments reflect your training in the received view and do not reflect people in pains experience with pharmacists or with doctors. That is why people in pain are increasingly recognizing pain care is about the profits of the health care industry and not about their need for pain relief. As I work with people in pain every week I have yet to hear any client being told about drug drug interactions(and there are millions of those every year- and lead to no small number of hospitalizations) and drug disease interaction- clearly both doctors and pharmacists have failed to check on those or educate patients regarding such. You say pharmacists are educated in pain management- i dare say pharmacists aren’t even trained in pharamco eeg. Experts have neglected pain care for 40 years and frankly, in the last 4 years matters have gotten worse as a result not of the DEA- but of the longstanding preudice and neglect in the health care industry toward people in pain.
It may be comforting and convenient to believe that your profession is innocent with regard to the problems in pain care- but that cannot be squared with the facts. You may be a professional who truly cares about people in pain and has advanced knowledge and skills- but just as the Hippocratic oath calls for not trusting a pharmacist I think your profession has failed in many ways when it comes to caring about people in pain.

Elaine

Jason I did not say you were over prescribed I said certain opiates are over prescribed in very high doses and quantities. Doses exceeding the known recommended dose by the manufacturer. As a dispenser we are required to dispense in “Good Faith”, that means we question period. The days of simply dispensing any drug when high dose warning and major interactions are over. We are required to call the doctor and then make a decision to dispense, based on information. A lot of prescriptions are legal but not ethical and written in good faith.

In my state Doctors and pharmacists have access to the website tracking for narcotics. Doctors should monitor each other and communicate with each other before the script is sent out to fill.

As far as the Walgreens situation I’m sorry you were mistreated. But do you think it’s personal, it’s not. Look up the settlement with the DEA Walgreens paid. You are a smart man, don’t you think there were other conditions?

In addition you do understand DEA trumps State Boards? Each state can add to federal rules, but not dilute them. Each state law is different based on the issues of that state, but they must all follow federal laws. States do not issue the right to dispense narcotics the DEA does. They can restrict doctors and pharmacies from dispensing by pull their license. So yes we do have the final say on whether to dispense or not.

If you have a established relationship with a pharmacy and doctor, continue to communicate with them and as long as you are not filling too early, you should be ok, if your situation changes be honest with them and they will work with you. Most pharmacists are not heartless, but some patients are not honest with their situations, and I know when I am being given a untrue story.

Jason Warner

Elaine,I understand where you are coming from as well. I don’t mind going into a Pharmacy where I have never been. I do not mind if the pharmacist calls my treating physician to verify the prescription. That is where is should STOP, right after that verification. Pharmacists are not Doctors, and in no way should a pharmacist have the final say when it comes to my treating physician in terms of how I am medically treated.

What troubles me to no end, especially with the Walgreen’s nightmare is that I got wrongly put on a list. I believe my rights were violated, which I am currently working with a lawyer on, plus I filed a formal complaint with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy to look into this matter.

Now back to the problem I have with Walgreen’s. Why was I not granted the right to see this denial report/do not fill list/plus the DEA report that was sent as well? I should have had the absolute right to read this report, review this report, and scrutinize these findings, if I believe, that the Pharmacists conclusions were either fair, or erroneous. Have you read how ridiculous their “good faith policy”is? I should have had the right to sign it, whether I agree with it, or not. I mean if you pulled my DEA report you will see that I religiously,once a month, picked up the same RX , same amount, same dosage every month for the past 5 years. The only thing I did was go to a few different pharmacies to have the RX filled (is that illegal, well according to Walgreen’s it is). I have never “shopped” or done anything out of what was required from me by my treating physician. I followed the rules, and now my name is out there. That is where I am perplexed, and will eventually get the answers I deserve.

I have another question that you brought up. You claim that everyone is over prescribed? What & where do you base these assumptions? Do you have an equation like; body mass x index x pain threshold x age= amount of medicine this person needs daily? I always read that everyone’s is over medicated? Everyone is different. One type of medication and dosage may work wonders for one person, but does not work for the other person. Since this complete crackdown by the DEA and Pharmacists/ doctors alike, my quality of life has diminished, my pain is constant with the medication I am on.

Doc ForthePeople

While pharmacists may be able to get information about who was prescribing what for patients, when I was in practice that information was actively withheld from treating doctors. And if a physician erred on the side of believing the patient he was labelled as a “softee” or as being “gullible” if not prosecuted criminally for making a wrong decision. Primary care doctors simply do not prescribe opioids in rational patterns because of one basic reason: fear of being persecuted legally combined with the awareness that there will be no repercussions if the doctor withholds treatment from a pain patient. Yes the prejudice against pain victims runs deep but the rudder is controlled from the state and federal bureaucracies that have chosen to misbrand the pain victim.

Elaine

Christina and Jason I understand your views, but your assumptions about my knowledge of pain management therapy and disease states are incorrect. I have been trained in pain management as have most pharmacists today. In fact most non pain management physicians under prescribe because they are afraid of addition. I work with legitimate pain management Doctors daily. So don’t assume I’m discriminate against you. However a lot of patients are addicted. I have family members who are chronic pain sufferers and I counsel them on proper therapy and alternative methods. I suffer from knee pain myself and some days it very hard. However I may have a high threshold for pain because I never finished my medication after surgery. I did not like the feeling. Sorry but until you go to pharmacy school you don’t know what we understand. You have to study disease states to understand medication. We don’t diagnose but we do understand disease states and medications effect on the body. Bottom line narcotics are overprescribed period and until it is under control everyone will be scrutinized. I’m not a terrorist but I still have to go thru checks when I fly.

Jason Warner

Quote, “I would rather spend my time helping patients manage chronic diseases, but instead we are forced to monitor narcotic use. Herein lies the real truth at the core of this prescription denial disaster.
Elaine is using a prejudice and biased view here. This is one the core concerns that many of us are writing about. We are being unfairly classified and targeted everywhere because of our disease. She is already pre- programmed to react negatively whenever a customer comes in to get a pain medication filled. That’s like saying,” I wish that customer was a chronic pain sufferer, instead of a diabetic because I am so sick of monitoring his/her insulin. Gosh this insulin problem is getting out of control.”
See my view is that someone like Elaine had not properly educated in the field of Chronic Pain therapy which is not her fault. This is my point as too why we need new laws, as I said in my story, that affords the chronic pain sufferer protections against this type of prejudice, plus prevents any pharmacist to refuse any medication refill as long as it is verified by our Primary Care Physicians/Pain Mgmt. Doctors.

Christina

Elaine intill you walk in the shoes of a chronic patient you have no idea what it’s like. It’s not the pain medication making patients deteriorate it’s the dieases or injuries or age. These medications help patients exist outside of their beds. Yes pain patient depend of them when it is the only thing that makes the pain subside enough to go on with the day. Especially when they have children to raise. It should not be your choice wether patients receive medications and yet it is. It should be the choice of the doctor who wrote the medication. You don’t have the knowledge of all the dieases or injuries that happen to patients. They have arrested and prosecute doctors for their get quick operations. Which I feel the DEA should of been doing their job and the situation in my state of florida would have never happened or would of been controlled. Which I’m starting to believe it was allowed to get the governments hand in our health care.The aftermath for patients has been a living hell. Pharmacy not excepting insurance for medications and charging ridiculous amounts for medication pain suffers need. Yet that has not been addressed only addicts and their behavior. This should be laws against this behavior of a pharmacist. There are patients that have to go without or play the pharmacy crawl to find some of their medications. With the tracking system with all our information in it patients should not have to suffer. It’s the patients choice to take the medicine and the doctor choice to write it. The pharmacist should call and verify the prescription and the doctor DEA. Then check the patients ID and it should be as simple as that.

Elaine

In addition let me add, if it was not for the Doc in the Box pop up clinics in states like Florida, legitimate pain patients would not have problems. We really can not get a lot of narcotics like OxyContin and hydromorphone anymore. We are limited to how much we receive, thanks to pharmacists not asking enough questions. Instead of complaining about pharmacies, petition your state to crack down on quack doctors and invalid pain clinics.

Elaine

As a practicing pharmacist for 25 years I have seen prescriptions for narcotics increase dramatically in the past ten years. I would rather spend my time helping patients manage chronic diseases, but instead we are forced to monitor narcotic use. In my state with your name and date of birth, we can see every doctor, pharmacy, and narcotic you have filled over the last year. We are required to use this system to prevent abuse and frankly to keep people from selling these drugs on the street. My advice is to stick with one doctor filling your pain meds and stick with one pharmacy. I have the right and the duty to refuse to fill any prescription I feel is suspicious. I too have a career and a license to protect. I will not risk either. By the way if a script says 1 to 2 pills take 1 and only 2 if really necessary. You do not always have to take the max dose. Millions of patients do this. I realize a lot of patients need pain meds, and we fill lots of scripts for those patients, but it’s ironic that we only have problems from a few patients and the monopolize a lot of time. It is difficult as a health care professional to see productive patients become dependent on opiates and to see their lives and bodies deteriorate over a period of time.

Victoria

Again, Walgreens seems a prime offender. A boycott because of their draconian attitude and policies is in order. Just as CVS has gotten kudos from the feds because of their stance on tobacco, Walgreens can be boycotted and press received, because of their pain patient policies.

Jason Warner

Thank you Myron for providing the following informative article for us;

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether a new type of Walgreen store is properly protecting sensitive patient information, reports the Wall Street Journal.”

This is a small step in the right direction for sure. But, for me, this is just the kindle that can start a fire. I am not laying back to see how this unfolds. This is the time for every Chronic Pain Sufferer out there to get involved. We need to get this DOOR wide OPEN so everybody in America will know what these corporations are doing to the innocent victims being committing against us. Hopefully this is just a taste of what’s to transpire when ALL Walgreen’s Chains are investigated for their crimes they have been committing without any justice. Well their time is running out. They must be held accountable for what is going on. Now is the time to stage public protests in front of all their doors, at government offices, etc…no time to wait.

Susan Mann

This is about insulin, not pain meds…while it easily could have been. My adult son moved from the US Virgin Islands to California. At the time, he was w/o a job and had very little money, but he did have his insulin ‘script from his doctor on St. John, having had it filled previously at the pharmacy there. CVS told him they could not transfer/fill a ‘script from the USVI, because they had “no way to verify it.” My son did not have attitude, just NEEDED his insulin! He logically figured that, if he called the pharmacy on St. John, the CVS pharmacy would ask whatever they needed to, to confirm the ‘script. He called them, and told CVS that they were on the phone and would talk to them. CVS said, “they had no way of knowing if it was REALLY the pharmacy, or not, and that my son would have to see their doc’ in box, when he came in, and get a new ‘script. My son started to wait, then realized that he did not have the money to pay the doctor when he got there. He was too embarrassed to tell CVS that, so he again asked if they would please talk with the pharmacy on St. John. They then ordered my son to leave CVS store! I shared this with the owner of the pharmacy of St. John, (since I was still living there.) He told me that he used to be a regional manager for CVS, and they do not fill ‘scripts written in the USVI, period. He was not especially shocked by how they treated my son. They could have simply told him that was their policy. He would have simply left to begin with.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether a new type of Walgreen store is properly protecting sensitive patient information, reports the Wall Street Journal. The chain is starting to ask pharmacists to have consultations with patients and not just stay behind the counter, but the federal agency said these stores may be creating environments where medical data gets compromised.”

March 20, 2014

http://www.theflyonthewall.com/permalinks/entry.php/WAGid1981669/WAG-Federal-agency-probes-privacy-concerns-in-new-Walgreen-stores-WSJ-reports

dave

Christina- you can sign my own petition without facebook and there are others as well regarding pain. Anyone is free to create their own petition.
I agree we also need a petition that focuses on establishing rights to access pain medications without burdensome requirements from doctors or pharamacists or unneccesary intrusion by the DEA or any authority. I fought against ISTOP legislation in NYS as there was evidence it would lead to less willingness on the part of doctors not only to prescribe medication for people in pain but to treat them at all.
Dont doctors and the DEA have a clue how hard the life of someone with chronic pain can be without making it even harder?
As every government derives its just powers from the people it is clear people need to take back pain care and make sure it serves their needs. I have worked with a few pain organizations on the rights of people in pain and am willing to work with anyone to ensure people in pain are being heard and that their needs are being met.

@Dave
I am a physician. I used far more than drugs to treat pain. One of the members of the State Medical Board of Ohio expressed amazement that he had never seen so many adjunct therapies tried for pain in over thirty years.

Kellix

Also I forgot about this, one time, my pharmacy didn’t have my meds and I was out and they looked around and found another walgreens that had it. It was a Sunday. So I went there and I talked to them and was waiting for them to fill my prescription, but they did that, they checked if it was the same doctor, same amount, etc……. But I overheard this woman talking to them, she was trying to get her prescription filled and I heard the words. We have to call the doctor before we can fill this prescription and I could tell the woman was in pain. So what was that woman going to do? A. try to find a friend that would help her, which is illegal. B. Go to a hospital, which they love that, they automatically thinking your trying to get drugs. Or C. Wait it out the day to the next to before they could talk to the doctor, which I thought was Bullshit. You could tell she was in pain. In Georgia, they have special paper, you can’t get the paper unless your aa doctor its like money paper. My doc was complaining about it because it cost like 10 cents a sheet. But they need to do something about where people if they have all the things to let them do their prescription. Its like they love telling people No. My mother whose in her 70s, fell and landed right on a dehumidifier and messed up her ribs good. I took her to the hospital. We were there and she asked for something for pain. The nurse came in and gave her the shot, I asked her what it was. Right then I looked it up on my smartphone and the nurse gave me this look like you asshole. Because what it was a glorified advil. After 10 minutes I had to go grab the doctor and tell him buddy you need to give her something stronger than that, then they finally gave her a shot of morphine. The hospitals all, are just like the pain clinics are soo afraid of the DEA, they would rather undertreat somebody then give them something that works. What I thought was funny, it all changed in one year. The year before it was totally opposite. I had a colon resection and I came in the hospital and I had a surgery like 6 days before and my colon had come open and poo was coming out my wound. I have crohns, Anyway, I was in dying pain and they had no problems giving me shots for pain. The next year totally opposite like someone talked to them and said, undertreat them and let them be in pain.

Christina

Dave
I clicked on your link to your petition can you sign it without using Facebook?
I think one should be created to change how pharmacist handle filling pain medications. I think there should be some organization that is in between the pharmacist and the DEA. I think this organization could help improve care and compassion to patients. It would restore the pharmacist security of helping the patient without the fear of being arrested. Which is why they choose that profession for their career is to HELP people. This organization could clear the road that all pharmacist must follow and ALL of them know it and follow it. What threats DEA has made to them and what they say they must do would be elimated. The fear factors!
Or we need to create a petition on opening specialty pharmacy. Were you can find your medications and they are affordable. There are quite a few private pharmacy making millions at the hand of a pain suffer. They are crooks hiding behind a business. They should be held responsible for behavior they know is morally WRONG!

Dave

Dr Shank- I disagree- pain care will evolve when doctors realize there is more to pain care than just drugs. In the past filling a prescription for pain was fast and easy- now because it requires more of the doctors time, the doctors wish the old days were back when doctors education about pain care came from the pharmaceutical representative and they were able to miss the hour lecture on pain in medical school.
Perhaps instead of going backwards in pain care we need to move forward and make full use of all treatments- electrotherapies, coping skills training, manaka acupuncture, MSAT, ACE, platelet rich plasma and r.i.t., the ALexander technique, noesitherapy, neurofield, dual induction hypnosis, nutritional therapies like FODMAP diet, homotoxicology, biomagnetic pair. It is time medicine took pain much more seriously and provide a serious and knowledgeable discussion of the benefits risks and alternatives to the hobbled approaches they now provide. And yeah my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right temporoparietal junction are well methylated for that conversation.

Sheila

Rite-Aid has tried to pull something similar and I’ve been with the same Rite-Aid for 7yrs. When I told my pain management doctor this that they wouldn’t fill his script until 2 days before it’s due(my insurance allows 4 days before due date on any meds not just pain meds.) he about blew a gasket. What Walgreens did to this gentlemen is against the law. Any script written by a physician must and should be filled at the time it’s given to the pharmacy. None of this asking personal questions which are none of their business and a pharmacist IS NOT a doctor so he definitely does not have a right to ask you anything other than what meds. you may be allergic too. This is all because of a few people who abuse the system or kids who steal from their parents meds. then OD and since the parents can’t except that it’s their fault because they weren’t responsible enough to throw their old meds. down the toilet before their kids found them. The parents turn around and blame everyone else and go to congress and whine about how they lost their kid because their kid OD and how the government needs to put a stop to these pain meds. that are killing their kids and a FEW others. And because of them doing this we now have a resurgence of HEROIN which is a thousand times worse than any prescribed pain meds. on the market today. All this thanks to the DEA for basically threatening physicians if they write too many scripts for pain meds. How do they determine what are too many written? So chronic pain patients go under treated even cancer patients! There are chronic pain patients who have committed suicide because they just couldn’t live with the constant pain. I am a chronic pain patient and I am under treated and have thought about just taking that last step and taking my life because it just doesn’t seem worth it to live this way because it’s not living it’s suffering! I know I’m ranting but I am so tired of being in pain 24/7 and no one in the FDA, DEA, or the government gives a damn!! One other thing I am a retired nurse and if you have eyes in your head and a brain that functions there is no way you can miss an addict! In the 25 yrs I worked as a nurse I could pick them out and would inform the doctor before he even saw the person. But today if you go into a doctors office and tell them you think you broke say your toe they’ll tell you to take an advil and send you home. I know this for a fact because my horse broke my toe and that’s what I was told to do. I had informed them that I was on a pain patch(thank goodness because it still hurt like crazy)So I went home and taped… Read more »

Many of you have expressed the need to get government attention about the needs of pain patients. I support your efforts, but I no longer have any confidence that they will be successful, until their is sufficient backlash against the misguided and counterproductive “War on Drugs,” itself. I would not have said this even a year ago, but I now believe that it may be necessary for pain patients and their advocates to employ the same model used by marijuana proponents, possibly even allying with them. If “medical marijuana” can become mainstream, maybe there is still hope for the medical use of perfectly legal drugs!

Jason Warner

I wanted personally thank Carolyn for your insight and crucial information that I just acted upon. I just filed a complaint against Walgreen’s with the Attorney General’s Office in the State of Nevada.

Victoria

I believe walgreens is the worst offender. I would like to suggest the great rx transfer movement.

Jason Warner

Hello Everyone,

All of your replies had been nothing short of tragic on this all out war on the chronic pain sufferers out their. Your stories are all very important to me. I am not doing this for any recognition on a personal level at all. I just want our voices heard. I am but one small story that morphed into everyone else’s nightmare stories out their. We deserve better than this, we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

melvis

I used to fill my scripts at Walgreens in Henderson, never had issues. Then I moved to Seattle, but I still see my doc in Vegas, I know how tough it is to find one who understands what pain is. The Walgreens in WA had nothing but questions and interrogation as to why I chose to see a doctor out of state.
Frankly, its none of their business!! & then I took my legal & legitimate prescriptions to my locally owned pharmacy. They are professional,.caring and go out of their way to help me.
So screw those big chain pharmacies, go to your smaller local companies. They will appreciate your business

Lynn

Same story here. I am in Florida, have been with Walgreen most of my life. I have filled every prescription for myself, children and husband there. So for my 30 years of dedication to them and the tens of thousands of dollars in business I chose to bring to them, they wouldnt fill my prescription. The doctor AND patient need to be with in 5 miles of the pharmacy. Yep thats what they told me. Well I work in a city and I live out in the country. There is no doctor or pharmacy with in 20 miles of my home. They wanted to know why I go to a doctor in the city, I said because I work in the city and its easier than taking a whole day off and doing it in the country town. I told them where I work, they asked for proof, I didnt have my badge with me, but did have a folder of some contracts. The pharmacist looked through it. The contracts were for some work I was doing on the side and included my pay for those services. The pharmacist, at Walgreens decided he would fill it. But they have a 3 hour hold on narcotics. Work was closed, they suggested I go to the mall and go shopping for awhile. I need pain medication for severe problems with my legs and back. I dont walk well, shopping was going to be my 3 hour activity. I almost just took seat right there to wait it out, but I didnt want to do anything to upset them. The next month I go to the same pharmacy. the pharmacist says my doc and I are not close enough. I explain that I was already vetted and would they please check their computer system to see that I am approved. Pharmacist says no approval process for him to check. I explained what had happened last time and she decided to fill it and said that I would have to go through it every time, even proof of my job to them. On top of it, everyone KNOWS what they are talking to you about, it is so embarrassing, actually it is mortifying each month. I was actually mortified by the pain doc contract and felt that was the most offensive thing assuming I will steal or get meds from the street. But that was nothing compared to what the pharmacies do, what the pharmacies are allowed to do.

dave

Deb- It sounds to me that you have good advocacy skills. But, unfortunately, if we are to see pain care become humane and slow the descent into the hell that it is for too many, we need to work together. Certainly doctors have worked together to refuse to have education in pain care- just as advisory committees at NIH and the pain consortium have worked together to limit what research there is on pain care- to the detriment of the public good and for their own agenda and selfish interests.
Here is the link to the American Pain Rights Act I wrote, I believe in 2010- it is dated now since in 2010 there wasnt as much madness when it came to obtaining medications:http://www.petitiononline.com/painra/petition.html. But signing on and sending it to Obama will be more symbolic. What is needed is a network of individuals to both address individual and collective wrongs. So when someone is denied a test or medication or treatment they can count an a fast response from the network to call their pharmacy, doctor, insurer and protest. In addition we need to work collectively on issues with medical organizations, insurers, legislators and nerds on medical boards to have our voices hears. If only 10% of the 115 million people worked together- we’d be unstoppable. Moreover, let me say- having had some success in step therapy- most doctors, insurers and government officials have far less than perfect knowledge on issues in pain care. Doctors and pain specialists often have huge gaps in what they know about treatments. And so it isnt hard to point out there many deficiencies. So i hope others like yourself will band together in common cause-I am willing to do my share.

Victoria

Time for a class action suit. Is anything brewing?

deb

Hi Dave,
Like to hear more about and /or see your information and contribute whatever I can in time, energy, organizing.

If you can provide a link to the info that would be great.

I understand , I think part of the problem is that when we are being refused our meds we come online, research, post , etc. but once we solve our immediate problem, such as find a good pharm, then we go back to our regular routine and forget.

I myself cannot forget, because it was so bad that I feel traumatized from the entire experience and also I just don’t think it is over by a long shot.

Getting meds filled is too critical and is in my view life threatening situation and I don’ tlike feeling like the rug can just be pulled out from under me at any given moment for no reason.

Too many people suffering, so I am on board to help out , please let me know what I can do to help and we will go at it.

thanks!

I had to get a Pain Management doc when my pelvic pain problem continued over a year and after surgery that was meant to help it but didn’t. It took awhile first to find a PM doc who would treat pelvic pain and when I finally did, It took many months to get in to see her. I’ve been seeing her for several months now and things seem to be going OK. We did a PM contract and I promised to always get my pain meds at the same pharmacy. It was $295 for the first doctor visit, $150 for the second visit one month later, and will be $150 at the next 3 month visit. Hopefully eventually I will only have to go annually. I also have to pay the separate $99 urine test bill after every appointment but the first. For the narcotic pain meds I have to take a paper script to the pharmacist each month. I only use independent pharmacies, and thanks to this article and comments I will be trying to get to know him better, immediately. The Pain doc gives me 3 separate scripts for the same medicine, to last 3 months. So that’s how it’s going in Georgia right now. One thing that bothers me is that lots of docs won’t see patients who don’t have insurance even if they pay up front; and the other is that there is no financial assistance available for this as far as I know. So if you can’t afford to pay these kinds of fees and you don’t have insurance, you’re SOL. The other thing that bothers me are the statistics I’ve been seeing. Only 1% of the people who have to take pain meds for legitimate reasons actually get addicted. So ok, we need to lock our meds up so the addicts in our lives don’t steal them and kill themselves, but why take all this out on chronic pain survivors??? Right after that whole Rush Limbaugh drug debacle a pain management specialist told me that things were going to change drastically in the pain mgmt. field. He was right by a mile.

deb

I have a story to tell myself of the nightmare I have experienced. It is unfortunate that it seems that the Pharmacists, with their God complexes, self righteous and indigent attitudes, actually looking for reasons NOT to fill perfectly legitimate prescriptions. I had a horrible experience(s) with Walgreens as well and will NEVER shop there again for anything ever. They actually did go out of their way to NOT fill my meds as if it is their job to not fill meds. The way you are treated is down right apalling. I live in fear every month as a result even though I have since found a new pharmacist that I have a good working relationship with at CVS. They do NOTHING like Walgreens did. and You are right they have an internal questionnaire to consider to fill or not to fill, which are completely arbitrary and over the top. What they are missing is any common sense in doing their jobs. If they employed as much common sense as they do all this diligence to not fill, things would be fine. What gets me is that these are playing God with our lives (or trying to) and all high and mighty and treating you like you are a criminal or something, and yet, we, the legit pain sufferers have done nothing wrong. Not one iota! Yet, we know the trouble , here in Florida especially, the bogus pain clinics/pill mills and addicts. Fine , shut them down, as well as they should be, but they have long since shut down nearly every single one of these. The addicts moved from oxycodone abuse to heroin. The DEA and supporters of this “war on drugs” campaign love to trot out that the overdoses from oxycodone have gone down since this crackdown, BUT, they fail to include in those stats that heroin overdoses have simultaneously increased, as well as use of. Didn’t do ONE thing to rid addiction or even overdoses as a result of addiction , they just changed drugs. But the DEA did create a secondary epidemic, a NEW epidemic has been born by this war on drugs and now it is a war against pain sufferers and legitimate doctors. Thing is, with all this high mightiness, especially from Walgreens, where was all this scrutiny when they were filling all the bogus scripts they filled? Yes, they were fined millions for doing so. I have heard of 20 year olds, NOTHING wrong w/ who had fake MRI’s and went to bogus pain clinics and had scripts for 300 , 30 mg oxycodone, 300 somas, 150 xanax! who in the world would take such an amount? this is enough to kill a pack of elephants twice! My question is , well we know why the bogus pain clinics did this , $, we know why the addicts did it, but why did the pharmacies fill these? and why do they not seem to want to accept any of the responsibility for… Read more »

trudy myers

This is ridiculous-These crazy guidelines suck and its very offensive to us chronic pain sufferer

dave

This is proof positive “big brother” controls pain care and the dried voices of people in pain remain mute and meaningless and distant as fading stars to government and the health care industry( who exist together in a political state of commensalism).
A few years back I wrote an online petition called the American Pain Rights Act- calling on Obama to have a comprehensive plan to reform pain care-including improving the rights of people in pain- it is still viewable today. Unfortunately, people in pain have yet to join forces and transform the culture of pain care that serves the health care industry and government much more than it addresses pain.

Carolyn

A. if you ever become a patient in a “Pain Mgt facility” they have you enter AND SIGN what today is known as a “pain contract” a basic agreement acknowledging who is responsible for what! what type(s) of therapy and medications are prescribed and
B. you should be held accountable for your medication with random drug testing and entered in what is known as a schedule 2 drug database!
C. when you fill at a pharmacy they are responsible to adhere to HIPPA LAWS of privacy and release of your conditions!

http://www.uspharmacist.com/content/d/pharmacy%20law/c/16133/

JASON WARNER FIND A LAWYER BECAUSE THE OWNER OF THIS LOCATION SHOULD BE AT LEAST NOTIFIED OF THE ACTIONS ITS POSSIBLE THE POLICY IMPLEMENTED COULD BE ILLEGAL AND ACTIONS BEGINNING WITH ANYONE WHO TREATED YOU IN THIS MANNER AND THEIR ACTIONS SHOULD BE LOOKED AT BY AN CONSUMER ATTORNEY! ALSO, YOU CAN FILE A COMPLAINT WITH YOUR STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL’s OFFICE AKA CONSUMER AFFAIRS FOR YOUR STATE! WE DONT HAVE TO TAKE IT!

A pharmacy cannot ask certain questions beginning with why your prescribed the medication. In the case above I would go so far as to remind people just because it says “Walgreens” doesnt mean it isnt franchised!

Also, all the pharmacy chains have a “RETAIL MARK UP ON PRICE and SUPPLY” which some mark ups are well over their cost and pass this mark up retail price to your insurance carriers and/or your wallets!

http://web.archive.org/web/20050316092358/http://www.wxyz.com/wxyz/ys_investigations/article/0,2132,WXYZ_15949_2635151,00.html

I just contacted Walgreens Online chat and asked questions and guess what the Rep said….

Im RIGHT!

Victoria

I was to be discharged at night and not sent with a supply home of dilaudid. I live 35 miles away from the hospital. I called the Walgreens near my house to see if they had it, yes, and they were open all night but would have to call the doctor to fill it…policy… so this would be about midnight by the time I was filling it. I went to a24 hour walgreens near the hospital, they filled it with no question, so it is not some sort of company policy, but seems to vary pharmacy to pharmacy. I was being discharged after lung surgery..one of the most painful conditions post surgically. What would have happened if I got to my town and they refused, because the doctor couldn’t be reached. I would have had to go to the hospital, til the pharmacy opened the next day and the doctor or a more sane pharmacy filled it. (They were the only 24 hour in my town).

if we don’t start demanding something be done by congress etc, things will get worst. walgreens and the DEA is taking our rights away as pain sufferers. it will get worst! instead of talking about it start demanding changed be made. picket walgreens, picket outside the DEA’s office. picket on the white house steps to get some laws in place to protect the people who aren’t drug addicts. its going to get worst people!

Doc ForthePeople

The Supreme Court has ruled in effect that it is unconstitutional to treat a convicted drug dealer with similar affronts to dignity. These same standards should apply to the treatment given to chronic pain victims and those who treat them with human respect…..Those standards of civil and constitutional rights should apply to the pharmacists AND the same state medical boards and federal regulators that Dr. Shank mentioned above. The only obstacle is finding the mechanism for pain victims to assert those rights.

E11 years

Yeah, this all sounds about right, sad to say. My own experiences are ridiculous as well. First, I had to turn over a binder of my medical background (I made four sections, condition(s) profile, patient profile, patient records, and doctor profile), to prove that I indeed was a pain patient in need of their oh so sacred meds. That seemed to suffice for a time, then, they, the pharmacy, actually said that if I wanted to continue to get my medications there, I needed to bring in the results of my last drug test.

Yes of course I brought it in. Of course there was no problem with any of my tests,and of course, I felt humiliated, insulted and a suspect.

Now my perscriptions are held hostage until I guess I am supposed to feign other conditions to get non narcotic prescriptions to balance the ratio. If this was happening for patients with diabetes or high blood pressure, it surely would make the evening news.

Kellix

Jason, that’s insane, also pharmacists have no right to look at your MRI, that’s a HIPPA violation. I agree with everything you said. I use Walgreens, but I have known the pharmacist for a while and she knows about everything that has happened to me, I have back pain and I have crohns disease. My PM, told me a long time ago, pick a pharmacy and get to know the pharmacist. I did exactly what he said. They may have called him or vice versa, I read their red flags. My pharmacist told me about it, and its all because of Florida and the DEA, Walgreens and CVS had to fork out 110 million to the govt. So they had all these new rules, they copied my drivers license and I do everything they want. Mine is chronic, I have been going there for 3 years. I agree entirely with you that legislation needs to be passed to protect people in chonic or acute pain, and the DEA needs to go back and do their jobs, their having a Heroin epidemic but what do they do, they screw with people that are in pain. People that are doing the right things, not the kids that stole medication and got addicted to drugs they shouldn’t have had. They need to worry about that 10 times more than us, and quit castigating us. Last thing if I was you, I would go to a hospital, not in the hospital a lot of hospitals have pharmacies and get your precriptions filled there. But I totally agree they need to make new laws for chonic and acute pain patients where they can get their medicine. Its like the pharmacist suddenly think their doctors and their NOT.

Christina

One more situation that I see more and more every day is the pharmacy staff holding medications for friends and family. How can you even have a chance to get the limited pain medications were you have this odd against you? There is a better system and the DEA threats to take pharmacist licenses has made the odds even higher. Tell them not to fill medication if doc not in same city. With my insurance I have no choice but to go to next county. I’m constantly being told you doctor office is in this county so I can’t fill it because of that. Complete B.S.

Christina

Jason it’s crazy what is come to. As the supplies get cut shorter and shorter patients are suffering. I’m going threw a situation right now were a pharmacist has contacted another pharmacist. He used our state data base in Florida to locate we’re I was filling. Which was done to block me from being able to fill pain medications for financial gain. He wants me to fill what he wants to take insurance for. He has filled refills of other medications without asking me. He has called my physician office for refills I never authorized. I’m persuading action for his unprofessional behavior. In my state of Florida there are private pharmacy that are not excepting insurance for pain medications and only will take cash. This is frowned on and has been label as Diversion! Some are charging anywhere from seven to ten dollars a tablet. I wonder how the hell is this legal? I know how because the DEA does not want us to have it.
There are some pharmacist out there who have power trips on the authority and split personalities. I know someone else has encounter this. We need speciality pharmacies that handle pain medications to make sure legitimate patients have access to fill legal perscriptions. Were the prices are affordable and a better count of how much pain medication is needed to cover the state. It’s not fair to patients that had no control over what fait has dealt them. In till you walk a day in my shoes you will never understand what it’s like to live this way. When your in pain you can be very short and aggregated. Forcing patients to go threw withdrawal hell effects there spouse and children. This spiral effect has even caused patients to take their own lives. We need to unite and stand strong for better access to pain medications.. I’m am open to all suggestions there is a better way then how it is in the state of Florida.

WAG’S “good faith policy” .. they couldn’t call it what it really is.. “10 easy questions to justify to not fill a controlled med” We don’t need new legislation.. enough legislation is in place to choke a horse.. and bring all of these arrogant corporations TO THEIR KNEES.. nobody has bothered to figure how to use it.. UNTIL NOW !!! More will be coming forward about this.. on this website.. “film at 11” 🙂

Doc ForthePeople

This story along with others chronicled in the NationalPainReport.com portray scenarios that just seem to violate multiple civil rights guaranteed in our Constitution and in the American’s With Disabilities Act! The scenarios also seem to violate the basic human rights of people who have had the misfortune to have their lives so devastated by the disease of chronic pain.

Honest physicians and pharmacists are victims of the tragically irrational and counterproductive “War on Drugs,” too. Patients can shop for another more understanding (more naive?) physicians or pharmacists, but we cannot shop for licensing Boards with the integrity to follow the laws, national guidelines and recommendations, the medical literature, and even their own rules and regulations.