What to do About Denial of Care at the Pharmacy Counter

What to do About Denial of Care at the Pharmacy Counter

Steve Ariens

Steve Ariens, PD

By Steve Ariens, PD

Almost daily an email shows up in my inbox and/or I get a text or a phone call about a patient not being able to get their medication filled at the pharmacy.

Sometimes, I have to defend the action of the Pharmacist. A recent email exchange was because the Pharmacist claimed that the refill was too soon.  It would seem that directions that the doctor put on the prescription read 1 tab three times daily and as directed and prescribed a quantity of 90 tablets. However, the doctor told the patient verbally that he could take 1 tab FOUR TIMES DAILY, if he needed to.

When it comes to calculating the “days” supply that is submitted to the insurance for billing purposes, the term “as directed” is MEANINGLESS in calculating the actual supply of how long the medication should last. So when the patient returned in 25 days for a refill-having taken 3.5 – 4 tablets every day-He was EARLY and denied his medically necessary medication because he followed the verbal instructions from his physician which did not technically match up with directions he had placed on the paper prescription.

The Pharmacist could have been in “hot water” if audited by the insurance company and/or DEA for too many “early refills”, because the auditors would look at the three times a day and disregard the “and as directed” as meaning that the patient could take more than three doses/day.

Then there was the email about a patient with a prescription for 31 days supply, to cover a month with 31 days. The patient was told by the Pharmacist that his insurance company would not pay for a 31 day supply and that they would not pay for a refill until 30 days had elapsed since the last refill date.

Under such circumstances, the patient should ask the Pharmacist for a screen print from the computer of the insurance company’s rejections. If they claim that they are unable to do that, simply offer them your smart phone to take a picture of the computer screen with the rejection information. If the Pharmacist claims that it is against company policy to do either, that is not a big problem.

Simply go home and call your insurance company, they will have record of the claim submission and if it was rejected and how many days early they will authorize the payment of a refill.  Under these circumstances, normally what the patient will be told is that the insurance company authorized the payment for the refill..BUT.. The pharmacy REVERSED the claim and then the Pharmacist told the patient that it was rejected by the insurance company.  Conclusion is that the Pharmacist LIED TO THE PATIENT.

Currently, I am recommending that patients do a audio/video recording of their interactions with the pharmacy staff.  I can’t count the examples given to me by patients of pharmacy staff developing amnesia of what was said or done or what was not said or not done. Experience suggests that corporate HQ will take the word of the staff over that of the customer.

There are only 12 states that have two-party recording laws and these laws were written when land-lines were the order of the day and they reference “private conversation”. IMO, it is hard to define the area at the pharmacy cash register as representing a “private conversation”. If the pharmacy staff objects to you doing a recording, just point to the store’s cameras that are recording you at the check-out.

The customers may not always be right… but.. customers always have RIGHTS !

Steve Ariens is a pharmacy advocate, blogger, and National Public Relations Director for The Pharmacy Alliance.

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There are 36 comments for this article
  1. Nancy Frand at 12:21 pm

    My problem is with CVS in Florida.My insurance company wants us to use this pharmacy as a mail order.Was getting my fentanyl patches from one pharmicist for 6 years.He would order them when I called.He left and the new guy would order and when I would go to pick it up he would claim someone else got it and it would take a week.I would be on my last patch.This was going on for months so I go to another CVS and was told I needed a letter from my doctor exposing all my illnesses .I know this is a violation of Hippa law .My doctor went along just to make my life easier.He starts to fill my drugs for maybe two months and then starts telling me he does not have it and I need to wait a. Few weeks.I accused them of violating Hippa and was told they will never fill any of my prescriptions.We report this to our insurance company and did not get very far.Eventually they allowed us to use a small compound pharmacy.I love this new pharmacy yet it it is costing me money.At CVS my prescriptions were filled free no copayment.I want to stay at my current pharmacy as they seem to care and are carefull.Would like to sue CVS for violation of Hippa laws.

  2. Tim Mason at 10:28 pm

    Hi John,
    The rate of delivery is on the insert contained in the box. It may well be on the box and the foil sachet that the patch came in. see this
    “Do not switch brands of fentanyl soluble film without first talking with your doctor. Different brands may release different amounts of fentanyl soluble film into your body. This may cause severe and possibly fatal overdose. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.”
    Similarly, warming the area where the patch is located can cause increased dosing rate.

  3. Joy at 4:18 pm

    John,

    Thank you for your post. Very insightful. I LOVED my Walgreens pharmacy. However delaying medications for 10 days, only to have the pharmacist tell me that Walgreens has a POLICY that only two boxes of Duragesic Patches can be supplied. If you need 3 you need approval from the supervisor. Which of course delayed the process.
    Totally unacceptable!! So I either had to leave the pharmacy or take Walgreens on. I don’t need stress so I chose to move on.

    I saw my pain management Dr. today to discuss this “generic” medication business. My Dr. said “In medical school we are taught that there is no difference between generic/brand.” He also said that generics are aloud by law to have +/- 20%, but same medication. In nursing school, we were taught the same.

    OK now I need to find out the rate of delivery. That would be the ONLY reason for such a large medication difference between the two patches. For reference, Duragesic 50 Mcg. Contains 8.4 MG. And the fentanyl 50 mcg contains 5.5 MG.

    In theory if both of these patches were exactly the same, my sister should not have went through horrific withdrawals. It just doesn’t make sense??

  4. Jamie McFall at 10:26 pm

    Hello I have a huge problem, I’ve been with the same doctor for 5yrs now and We have been able tho reduce the amount of medications for my pain, then some big thing happened in Florida where I couldn’t get dilaudid from my pharmacy of 3years Walgreens, I tried and succeeded about 5 months jumping pharmacy to pharmacy as my ex Walgreens no longer dispensing dilaudid, I’ve had to change medications to a morphine instant release along side the extended release, I’ve been fighting thru the extra pain for almost a year I’ve had to go higher in dosage on the extended release plus add on other medication I was able to drop while using the dilaudid, my pain is getting worse, I’ve gone from being able to walk frequently to barley able to move I’ve gained weight and I cannot sleep thru the night I have a 2yr old son that I have to bee able to keep up with yet I cannot physically stay at his level anymore is there anything I can do in the state of Florida to go back to the dilaudid that kept my extended release mg down and dropped 2 other medications that I’m now back on? Please if anyone has a suggestion please reply. Thank you for your time and expertise. No I’ve not refilled early I’ve always been right on with random pill counts I have no idea why I’ve had to go thru so much horrid stress.

  5. Ken Burgos at 4:48 am

    My pain management doc gave me 120 tabs to bridge me until my mail order came in. May I add that I live in Florida and the med is Methadone. I went to thirty different pharmacies, here we either have CVS or Walgreens to choose from, besides the food chain pharmacies. I even went to the ER and was told by every pharmacist they didn’t have the med. the doctor at the hospital said we don’t have that med here and said I can’t help you, then walked away. Today is Sunday and I am naturally sick in bed without my mess. Florida has taken this way too far. I almost got it at a Walgreens , but after an hour she called me and said she couldn’t fill it and no Walgreens will fill it, and I know it was because I had been in another Walgreens looking for it. That pharmacist told me I was going to several different pharmacies like I was drug addict, that’s what you have to do in Florida, and with that I even went back later and he left a note stating not to fill my script. As you said the nurses made a mistake gave me a 60 day supply and wrote x90 days. I called my mail order and they fixed it, but by then it was too late from me. So here in this state, from the doctors to the pharmacists, you are on your own. I want to report that first pharmacist, but not sure how to go about it. Thanks for any help anybody can give.

  6. Jean Price at 9:11 am

    Regarding meds not being filled because it’s not yet time…I recently called to see if my prescription was ready, only to be told it was one day early…because they count from the day it was picked up…NOT the day on the bottle saying when it was filled!! (My doctor allows about ten pills a month extra for my worse days, and I had not been able to get to the pharmacy to pick up my pills the day they were filled the last month.). Yet because it had been a much worse month, and one with thirty one days instead of thirty…I was left with no pills for the day…based on a pick up date for the month before! Like I said earlier, could they make it any harder for us? They must have someone full time who dreams up all these restrictions, because it defies logic! Just one more little wrinkle in the life of those with pain…and one more unjustified penalty!

  7. Tim Mason at 4:00 am

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned this. Your receipt has a survey request on it. The one at Walgreen asks you to mention the staff by name. It is like voting after each visit. The pharmacy staff get feedback about their service. i.e. Once they know you by name everything is fine. The software your Pain Management practice uses to verify your refills at each office visit tracks you. I signed that I would only use 1 pharmacy. You can use another store in the chain if they are out but generally they stock the medicine YOU buy every month.
    I was a compounder at a specialty pharmacy in another life.

  8. Angel at 5:32 pm

    My doctor has taken to writing an extra prescription if I need an early refill or adjusted medication. This way I fill every 30 days however if I need an early refill lets say for surgery he writes a 3-5 day one for which I pay CASH. This means no 3rd party billing in those scenarios. I highly recommend only seeing 1 pharmacist at your pharmacy. That way you’re not profiled by the other staff. For the cost out of pocket for early refill day prescriptions I use goodrx websites to offset the out of pocket cost

  9. Dave, PharmD. at 5:15 pm

    Regarding calling pharmacies to check stock of controlled medications over the phone, try asking for the pharmacist and leading the conversation with something like this:

    “Hi, my name is John Doe and my birthday is 01/01/1950. I have a prescription for PainMed 10mg, quantity of [XX]. Would you be able to fill this for me today?”

    Letting the pharmacist know who you are puts us at ease that we are speaking with a legitimate patient, and will drastically reduce your chances of the automatic “no.”

    I see your struggle, and empathize your situation. I encourage anyone who does not receive the respect they deserve from their pharmacist to find a new one.

  10. Christine Taylor at 2:05 am

    EARLY REFILLS— I usually go south for a month or so each winter and was told that the pharmacy would not pay for early refills. The insurance rep left out the fact that all one needs to do is pay for the medication and submit the receipts once the time for the medication is due and the patient will be reimbursed. It is inconvenient but if you need your meds early for any reason that is what must be done.

  11. Christine Taylor at 1:57 am

    The expectation of privacy is the PATIENT’S right and NOT the pharmacist’s. I don’t see how recording the conversation could be against the law if a patient chose to do so.

    PATCHES— to ensure adhesion wipe the area with alcohol or even facial astringent first. To remove adhesive from skin use a cotton swap or pad moistened with baby oil. No need to buy expensive products.

    I called The College Of Pharmacists here for information when I was refused a refill. The pharmacy claimed it was two days early but it was actually only one. The person counted days differently. The College told me that pharmacy staff need to use common sense and should NEVER make patients wait until they run out of medication before refilling a script. They should understand that patients will need to pick up their medication a day or more before it runs out. During holidays such as Christmas and Boxing Day patients may even need to pick up prescription refills much earlier depending upon the period that the holidays fall and based on hours and days of service of the pharmacy. Example- a pharmacy may be closed Christmas Day, BD and Sunday so patients would need to pick up before the store closes prior to Christmas.

    Pharmacists are accountable to their respective Colleges and if one is mistreating a person complaints can be made to their Governing body. Such is the case with Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, Lawyers, etc. It is best to always first try to resolve the issue with the professional involved and move on to the company if one is not satisfied. Official complaints should only be made if the offense is unresolved or serious in nature.

  12. Judi at 5:22 pm

    I have been with the same doctor for 5 years now. I have a home in Florida and one in Ohio. My doctor is in Florida. I fill my prescriptions in Ohio. Reason being, the cost of my prescriptions for 28 days in Florida, $2100. Same meds in Ohio $168. I dont know what will happen now that as of July 1st, I am now covered by a medicare prescription plan. Before that, I was cash pay. I couldn’t afford insurance on my social security disability income, but I was above the income level for Medicaid. My drug plan lists oxycodone in its 90 day refill list, and also as available for mail order. Does anyone have experience with this thru silver scripts?

  13. Cheri Furr at 12:16 pm

    Skin so Soft, sold by Avon, is a wonderful solvent to wipe away residue from fentanyl patches.

  14. Dan at 9:46 am

    I guess I’m a lucky one. Never in 35 years one complaint with my pharmacists they treat me with respect and always have my meds. Thank God

  15. Lee Salm at 8:48 pm

    Krissy, as for the problem with the Fentanyl patches sticking and solution, I had a problem with them picking up fibers from what ever I was wearing. That never came off. The same company that makes the skin preps also makes a solvent. They don’t cost much and your skin looks normal without scrubbing til it’s red. Worth the investment. Name is UniSolve.

  16. Layla Rose at 5:14 pm

    That’s illuminating. I can’t believe how many pharmacists acting like total jerks to patients.

  17. Joy at 3:54 pm

    Walgreens has a policy that they will only supply a patient with 2 boxes of Duragesic patches. My Dr. Prescribes my Duragesic patch to be changes every 2 days. This requires 3 boxes per month.
    Due to this policy, I had to wait from 5 days, the longest wait being 10 days to receive my prescription. Totally unacceptable. I then took my prescription to CVS. Only to encounter a nasty judgmental pharmacist.

    The best advise I can give anyone who is on pain medication. Find a large pharmacy that is not part of a chain. Forget Corporate pharmacies. We drive to a pharmacy that is 20 minutes away. It’s a large private company. 5 plus pharmacists working daily with pharmacy techs. I have not encountered one problem with this pharmacy. No longer do my husband and I have to deal with the monthly stress. It is truly a blessing.

  18. Michael at 12:37 pm

    Yes the pharmacy’s are something else, over the years I have had to change Medicare drug plans and when a DR writes a prescription like the company I used to jhave they say we cant do that you have to go through the steps, well I am 75 years old I don’t have many steps left, I don’t fit into there hassle very well.

  19. Robin Lindahl at 11:45 am

    I am happy to know that someone out there is listening to the terrible time people who are in no condition to be able to go through the constant battle of trying to fill controlled substances at pharmacies. I live in a very rural area of Hawaii and have to drive anywhere from 80- 45 miles round-trip to fill prescriptions only to be told they don’t have enough to fill or its too early or mostly that I have to come back tomorrow or the next day and it’s first come first serve basis even though they(CVS Long’s) know what and when you refill you every month. I haveade numerous reports to CVS corporate and the corporate pharmacist forced a pharmacist to fill prescription because they lied to me and he caught them. This is an ongoing problem several times a month for me. You are not allowed to fill your scripts at other pharmacies unless you are a continuous customer. I stress all month about how and when my prescriptions will be filled. You cannot call and ask if they are in stock on opiates, you must personally go to store to be told usually “no”. Sometimes I m told yes for my anxiety medication only to find out when I call to make sure they’ve filled it, that no they can’t after securing a ride. Its costly and adds to my conditions. This happens often. I’m going to start recording my phone conversation besides videoing while there to drop off or pick up.I don’t own a car and no buses from where I am. I am 15 miles from a bus. Most of the people here including myself are poor and cannot afford to drive back and forth. The pharmacists are playing God. Thank you for your support. I would tell everyone out there who is having problems with their Pharmacy to call the corporate office on any problems filling a valid prescription. Be heard!

  20. Krissy at 10:25 am

    John, good post for all of us. I have to say that most of my pharmacists (having moved a few times and needed new ones) have been so great and I have trusted them and felt “taken care of.” The amount of education they have is the most valuable to us. Our pharmacists know much more about any drug than what might be a very large percentage of doctors. I’ve always relied on them to help with questions, interactions, etc. Thanks for making a comment here — we always appreciate our professionals!

    Of course there will be some crabby pharmacists and those who are not good at working with the public, but one has to expect that in every business.

    Regarding those of you talking about Fentanyl and Duragesic patches, if anyone has a problem with them not sticking well enough or staying on after showers, etc., I learned from someone else’s comment last year to use a product called “SkinPrep Protective Wipes” by smith&nephew. I order them on Amazon and they come in a box of 50. Clean the area well and make sure it’s rinsed well and dry, then swipe the pad with the SkinPrep on it to your skin. When it’s just dried, place your Fent. patch on. (I’ve heard not to use alcohol for cleaning or under a patch, but I’m not sure of the details on that.)

    It’s a live-saver for me and has reduced a lot of frustration with patches getting lose or worn before the 3-day change. My own tip, which is kind of funny but really works — when you remove an old patch and the glue is difficult or you have sensitive skin, use “Goo-Gone” to clean the area. It’s gentle and fast and everything comes clean. Maybe any good oil would do, but one small bottle of Goo-Gone lasts forever. I have sensitive white skin and other than the big itch about 24 hours after a new patch (at the site), I have had no problems with these products. The itch is just my skin — not everyone gets it I suppose.

  21. John at 9:39 am

    Steve,

    I believe that you make some very appropriate and respectable suggestions for consumers to protect themselves. I also believe that we cannot always assume that pharmacists are out to get you. I am a pharmacist who whole hearted believes that the patient/customer always comes first. Any good pharmacist would go out of their way to avoid endangering a patient. There are bad and lazy pharmacists out there that should not be allowed any near medications, I have seen it first-hand.

    I would like to point out that no reasonable pharmacists would ever deny a patient a prescription unless there was an obvious reason. I can’t even begin to tell you the numbers of times I have given out loaner meds (insulins, heart medications, you name it).

    The reason I am responding to your post is that I believe in order to solve the problem, all of us need to be more responsible; including the pharmacists, doctors, and patients. Question anyone whom you feel is not giving you appropriate advice and be aware of your medications (know how you take them and make sure your doctor writes it that way on the paper you bring to the pharmacist). With that being said, in my state as a pharmacist we cannot legally alter a prescription unless given verbal instruction to do so directly from the physician, even if we know it is incorrect. I have refused to fill prescriptions in that specific instance when the physician refused to change; because I knew if I just filled it that someone may be harmed.

    The biggest misconception that I read in one of the comments above is that generics and Brand name meds are not the same. They are in fact the same, strength for strength. What I mean by that is in the example above, fentanyl vs Duragesic, as long as on the both boxes it says 25mcg, then they are the same and have to be by law. Now if your doctor wrote on the prescription Duragesic 50mcg; the pharmacy should dispense fentanyl 50mcg, however if you got 25mcg then someone screwed up, it has absolutely nothing to do with it being generic. You should also be aware that you have the right to ask for Brand even if the doctor wrote for the generic. Please keep in mind that it will be more expensive, all brand names are, and your insurance may not cover it the same.

    Just wanted to share my perspective.

  22. dooney at 6:36 am

    In regards to the posts about Fentanyl, I tried generics from 2 different manufacturers that didn’t work well. The pain management nurse suggested I try Duragesic and it works much better, so asked my doc for brand and she wrote with no issues. Unfortunately it is a tier 3 on my insurance. It’s gone from a 75.00 copay in 3 years to now 200.00. But if it keeps me working, it’s worth it.

    I use Safeway pharmacy and the people who work there are the nicest, kindest, and non judgemental pharmacy I have ever used. They special order my Duragesic and a few times they forgot to reorder. When I went to pick up my rx they were so apologetic, ordered it and had it the next day. I am know how lucky I am to have those pharmacists especially with what’s going on as stated here. They are so supportive of what I have to deal with in having chronic pain too.

    I know that some insurances limit what pharmacy you can use but mine encourages grocery store versus chain drugstores saying it’s cheaper for them.

    Life with pain us hard enough, so I feel for anyone dealing with this cr*p on top of everything else.

  23. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 6:26 am

    “Steve I ask you, is this MD speaking fact? Are generic medications known for having less of the “prescribed substance”? For now, I am saying NO to generic mefications.”

    Joy, It is my understanding that generic medications all generic medications are to be exact in the amount of drug in it. There shouldn’t be a need to go brand only – especially as this can get expensive – except it rare cases where the generic may have fillers different than the brand drug. But drug for drug they are supposed to be the *SAME*

    Now with fentanyl the delivery system could be different between the two patches. I’ve not allowed a doc to prescribe it to me since a generic [new non gel pac] nearly killed me in 05 by dumping 3 days of meds into me in 3hrs. It was a bad patch. It was the first box of generics too. I had other issues besides; like they wouldn’t stay on. The OD where it dropped into me was shocking. The hospital did NOT KNOW it was a synthetic opiate so I survived it because I could 10yrs ago. No way I could today. Make sure to get the OD epipen and talk to family about a possible leak. The epi-pen is expensive if not covered but it can sit on the shelf and hopefully never get used. Ask about it if you havent been given one and make sure to update friends and family. My friend saved my life the day it leaked by calling 911 fast and telling them I was on the patch which they quickly removed.
    Good luck!

  24. John at 5:11 am

    I agree with the above comment by Matt. Use your hospital’s outpatient pharmacy that is affiliated with your Doctor. This has solved all my issues with trying ro get my pain medication. They always have it, and the full amount. I am no longer treated like a drug seeker!

  25. criminally inpain at 10:13 pm

    It should be illegal for a pharm. to refuse to fill a RX w/o having a verifiable reason to not fill it!! They are carelessly putting our lives in danger & should be held accountable for anything that happens to the patient because of it!
    Imagine them refusing to give a diabetic their insulin that results in the patient going into a coma or dying. Would that pharm. be held accountable? ABSOLUTELY, so why should it be any different for CPP’s?
    When I was forced into withdrawal due to no fault of my own; I ended up in the cardiac ICU for a week where my heart stopped twice & I had a stroke that damaged my vision!
    In my case, they should have been charged w/ attempted murder and/or neglect that resulted in great harm.
    Also, because this happened, I was accused of being an addict & abusing my meds. as my doc claimed that legit & compliant patients that stopped cold turkey, went through little to no withdrawal!! So therefore I was either lying about my pain or I was taking way too many! he told me that the only way that I would be able to get any pain care was to go through rehab!
    I ended up going to Dr. Sponaugle’s ultra rapid detox as my doc would not agree to taper me off properly! This detox cost me over $10,000 cash (he does not take ins.) & was supposed to take no more than 48hrs. start to finish. However, I was there over a week because during the detox my heart kept stopping & they were having a very hard time keeping my pulse above 40 beats.
    I am so sick of being treated like this & is the reason I am working so hard to fight for not only me, but ALL my fellow pain patients!! We MUST all come together to have our voices heard & stop our SUFFERING OF SILENCE!!(SOS)

  26. Krissy at 10:10 pm

    My most recent problems at the pharmacy are a bit different. I filled my antidepressant when I was at my daughter’s house when she had her baby in May. The Target phcy gave me only half of the Rx, but I didn’t pay attention to it since we were busy with more important things. When I got home and ran out, I thought I would call Target in FL and get it fixed. But, the correct number of pills was printed on the bottle, so I had no proof. Consequently, I just decided to cold-turkey it and I went off of it. It’s been more than a month and I am getting my emotions back and NO depression. I have wanted to do this for a long time, so thanks for the mistake Target. (I’m still going to call and tell them what happened.)

    I went to a new Walmart to fill my Fentanyl last week. Because the pharmacist didn’t speak English well enough for me to understand him, we had an argument. I still have no idea what he said. I did wear my press pass and take notes because I hadn’t bothered to learn how to record on my phone (I know, it’s really easy!). I seemed to have made them all nervous because the techs were staring at the whole thing. I was amused. I got 1/2 supply and my doc is writing another slip for the rest of the month.

    One never knows what’s going to happen when you wake up in the morning.

    Thanks, Steve, for all your good info and help. What would we all do without you?

  27. Joy at 9:08 pm

    Hi Steve,

    A friend of mine is taking the Duragesic Patch, brand name for Fentanyl. She had trouble with her insurance, so her MD wrote for the generic brand. She called the company who makes the generic patch. A representative lie and said that the patches are exactly the same.

    Long story short, my friend experienced severe withdrawal symptoms. After looking at both wrappers, the generic brand had 1/3 less fentanyl then the brand. The precribing MD is either over or under medicating patients when switching between brand and generic. Why is this difference legal?

    Today, I mentioned the difference to a MD that I saw today. His response was “everyone knows that generic medications have less medication in them”. To which I replied “interesting, we’ll even her Dr was unaware of the difference”.

    Steve I ask you, is this MD speaking fact? Are generic medications known for having less of the “prescribed substance”? For now, I am saying NO to generic mefications.

  28. Steve at 4:58 pm

    I think the problem is with certain pharmacies like Walgreens.
    They deny people to get their medications, if they don’t meet this “secret checklist”.
    They downright refuse to fill it.
    (usually scheduled stuff like benzodiapines or opiates)
    People have complained about the pharmacists have refused to even give you the RX paper back, to take it to another pharmacy.
    They have a God complex.
    I’ll never use walgreens.

  29. TAMMI WILSON at 4:56 pm

    I have been dealing with this for SEVERAL YEARS!!!! I DO understand where the pharmacists is coming from and how they want to protect their licences, but where are we to go? They state that they are not familiar with me, but how do you become familiar if you will not even discuss my “PERSONAL” and diverse situation. This has become “LIFE CHANGING” along with I would put it- taking over my whole month, trying to deal with PHARMACYS”!!! Without knowing ALL about my situation, where is a person to turn to? The government is putting all this pressure on our doctors, regarding HOW MUCH and WHAT then can prescribe to us, and then you go to your pharmacy and deal with them, looking at you as a “DRUG SEEKER”??

  30. Liz at 2:41 pm

    I had issues with my current pharmacy because they would short prescriptions- ALL meds, even those that aren’t controlled. I had to count as soon as I got home and call up to complain. Once they shorted me 200 (!!) muscle relaxers, and gave me no problem coming in the next day for those.
    Turns out that there was a pharm tech who was doing this. I’m not sure if she was taking the pills for herself or thought she was “helping” but I asked and she was fired. I don’t know if they did anything else, like if she was reported to the police, because of privacy.
    Haven’t had a problem since.

  31. Drew P. at 1:44 pm

    That was me with the 31/30 day refill. I switched to a smaller independent pharmacy. The issue seems to be with larger “chain” pharmacies.

  32. Kim Miller at 1:35 pm

    Thank you, Steve, for your seemingly tireless efforts in advocacy for chronic pain patients and their plight with getting treatment that involves any form of controlled medication. You are truly an inspiration to us all and your assistance with the legalities of the pharmaceutical industry are priceless.

    I’m sure I speak for many when I say, “Thank You”, for all you do for us.

  33. Jean Price at 12:00 pm

    What I am finding is the pharmacy is more often than not out of the medication and takes at least five days to get it in! Since these are prescriptions that can’t be transferred, it poses a big problem! I’ve been told they will stock my medication, but if the dosage is changed, you’re up a creek again if they’re out! And my insurance is covering the brand but not the generic! So, appeals and more appeals…and the doctor is as frustrated as I am! How did life get to be so hard for those with pain?! Truly could they think of one more thing to make it harder?! Living with daily pain is difficult enough without all these “little” problems along the way! And I don’t think others have this type of problem with…like blood pressure meds or heart meds! Again, pain meds stand alone in this crazy witch hunt, and it defies all logic!! Well, except for the logic of greed, I must admit!

  34. Matt at 6:31 am

    Steve,
    I believe that most of what you detailed in your article is common sense and not the major problem in the current environment. If a doctor fails to write a prescription accurately, a responsible pharmacist can deny, or if they are humane, call the doctor for clarification. I don’t think anyone would argue with the legal points.

    When a pharmacist believes they have the power to deny filling a legitimate doctor’s prescription solely based on their political beliefs, I believe they should be subject to a chargeable offense including both a fine and most importantly, time served behind bars.

    I suggest that every patient that has the option, have their prescriptions filled at the hospital pharmacy associated (accredited) with their doctors if possible.

    Pharmacists are not Gods.

  35. Mark Ibsen MD at 6:24 am

    Thank you Steve
    A respectful and appropriate suggestion to restore the rights of the patients and pharmacy staff.

  36. Tim Mason at 3:24 am

    This thread solidifies my theory that people with gray hair are knowledgeable in many things. Furthermore, the people with gray hair speaking about their profession and skill set have my respect.
    p.s. I am not making jest of you, I have gray hair too. I feel it is just our gray matter extending from our skull.