Backlash Against Walgreen’s New Painkiller Crackdown

By Judy Foreman
Guest Contributor

You may be in for a shock if you try to get a prescription for any controlled substance – from Ambien to opioid pain relievers – filled at Walgreens anywhere around the country.

Walgreens recently announced what it calls a new “Good Faith Dispensing” policy under which the pharmacy giant – the largest in the nation – is suddenly requiring its pharmacists to take “additional steps” to verify prescriptions for controlled substances.

cheukiecfu/flickr

(cheukiecfu/Flickr)

This process, the company says, “may, at times, require” the pharmacist to contact the prescribing doctor to make sure the diagnosis, the exact billing code, the expected length of therapy and “the previous medications/therapies tried and failed” are correct.

In plain English, this means that Walgreens pharmacists are going to call your doctor, or at least your doctor’s office, to see if your doctor did the right thing in giving you a prescription for pain relievers and other drugs. The policy is provoking distress and outrage among pain patients, physicians and others.

In a telephone conversation, a Walgreens spokesman denied that the aggressive new policy was specifically triggered by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s crackdown on the company in the wake of problems with infamous “pill mills” in Florida. Until recently, unscrupulous “patients” and unscrupulous doctors in Florida have colluded in diverting massive quantities of prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone (an ingredient in OxyContin) through fake clinics dubbed “pill mills.”

In June, Walgreens and the DEA announced an $80 million settlement to resolve the government’s charges that Walgreens failed to control the sales of opioid pain relievers in some of its stores.

The government said that distributors of pain relievers failed to monitor suspiciously large orders for opioids Necessary as that crackdown was, a presumably unintended result is that legitimate pain patients are finding it harder to get the medications they need.

Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin told me that he was not sure precisely when the company’s “Dear Valued Prescriber” letter spelling out the new policy went out, adding that he thought it went out in April or early summer. (There is no date on the letter itself). The date of the DEA settlement was June 11, 2013.

Although pain patient advocates worry most about getting prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, Polzin confirmed that the letter actually stipulates new procedures for all controlled substances. In theory at least, that could make it harder for patients to get prescriptions for other drugs such as Restoril, Halcion, Sonata, Ambien and Lunesta.

Asked why Walgreens is taking this action now, Polzin said, “There’s been, as is well known, a sharp rise in the abuse of prescription painkillers in recent years and health care professionals of all practices are being asked to find better ways to make sure those medications are used for legitimate purposes.”

Asked specifically if the $80 million settlement imposed by the DEA triggered the company’s actions, Polzin said, “We actually imposed our Good Faith Dispensing policy before that settlement. We have done a number of things before reaching the agreement with the DEA to make sure we were fulfilling the obligations for dispensing controlled substances and making sure that our training and pharmacy staff were where they needed to be.”

He acknowledged that the new policy may mean that getting prescriptions filled “could take extra time – it does require us at times to get information from physicians’ offices.”

Whatever the motivation by Walgreens, the American Medical Association is furious. In a resolution in late June, an AMA committee chaired by Iowa dermatologist Marta van Beek called the Walgreens’ policy a direct “intrusion into medical practice.”

As the AMA committee put it, “pharmacists are not and under no circumstances should be required to confirm the appropriateness of a prescription; this decision is a purely medical one, completely in the purview of the treating physician.” The policy “will be very disruptive to physicians’ practices, interrupting visits and procedures and delaying other patients’ care.” The Walgreens policy may also seriously delay “delivery of medications to all patients.”

Van Beek added, in an email to me, “The physician-patient relationship is focused on the patient’s disease and how best to treat it in the context of the patient’s health and social factors. A pharmacy does not have this perspective.”

US Representative Michelle L. Grisham, a Democrat from New Mexico and a former secretary of health in that state, is also worried that the Walgreens’ policy “is endangering the health and safety of patients by delaying the filling of opiate prescriptions.” The policy may force patients “to go to multiple pharmacies to fill prescriptions, which could put patients in jeopardy with state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, she said in a letter to the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy.

In a telephone conversation, Grisham went further: Walgreens “policy is very over-reaching..[they] are vilifying the patient, which is outrageous.”

Some pharmacists don’t seem to like the new Walgreens policy, either. On a website, one member of the group, speaking for himself, blogged that the policy as “the height of corporate self-interest.” That view does not reflect the policy of the society.

Pain patient Cindy Steinberg, national director of policy and advocacy at the Connecticut-based US Pain Foundation, acknowledges that “a pharmacist “is entitled to look for the authenticity of a prescription.” But, she told me, “this is now going over the line into judging the appropriateness of a prescription. That is outside pharmacy practice. They can’t question whether a physician can or should institute this therapy…“this is very harmful for people with pain who are simply trying to get their medications so they can have some quality of life.”

The new Walgreens policy is creating particular problems for pain patients in Florida. One South Florida chronic pain patient, Julee Payne, wrote me that she has filled her prescriptions with Walgreens for over 10 years. But now, she said, “we’re expected to drive around for hours to find a pharmacy who will/can fill our medications…”

The result of the new Walgreens policy, she said, is that pharmacists “have been given the absurd task of policing the doctors on top of everything else….It is truly a public health crisis here.”

Judy Foreman, a longtime syndicated health columnist, is the author of the forthcoming book “A Nation in Pain – Healing Our Biggest Health Problem,” from Oxford University Press.

Update from Judy Foreman: A previous version of this story incorrectly left the impression that the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists as a whole was highly critical of a new Walgreens’ policy called “Good Faith Dispensing.” That was in fact a view expressed in a blog by one individual member of the group posted on June 15, 2013 and does not represent the opinion of the organization as a whole; that opinion was expressed in an official blog on July 22, 2013. We regret the error.

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  • raymond zeena

    I wish there was some way to let the lawmakers and DEA agents feel what we feel…I mean really experience it. Legally of course. How about a study where we take 300 agents and hook up a machine to their back that replicates a disc herniation.

    Then give them pain pills for relief for 10 years….and then 1 day suddenly say..ok, no more. Were scared of being arrested so we can’t give you your pain pills.

    My doctor actually wrote me a letter saying I was compliant for years, He is now not prescribing to any of his current 50 chronic pain patients. This was not a decision based on patient needs…it was based on the doctors needs..to not get in trouble for doing nothing wrong.

    There will be several suicides coming if not suicide, then new heroin addicts for certain…..very sad, but very, very true

  • thejoggingyenta

    Has anyone realized that this is a conspiracy to make legitimate pain users, and abusers alike, switch over to the illegal heroin trade, of which the Government is the biggest supplier of Afghany Heroin? More and more prescription pain users are being forced to go to heroin which is shame-free from nosy pharmacists, cheaper for the abusers and readily available 24/7. The Government goes into many Countries NOT for the reasons we are told, but to steal resources like oil and heroin, and make money for the 1% who control our Country. More and more regulations are forcing more and more people over to heroin – their plan is working splendidly isn’t it?

    • Educated6799

      After 15 years I was out of a wheelchair because I was getting oxycodone 80mg a day for my chronic pain and that allowed me to move enough to shed over 400lbs. I had skin removed etc and I was so happy at 120lbs. I then moved to Florida. Now I am 400lbs. I can’t play with my toddler and I would kill myself if I didnt have him. I would rather die than go back into the wheelchair I am headed for. I am in so much pain, that there is no quality of life. I cry all night, and watch as all my life goes away.

  • Greg Thompson

    No problem. I won’t go to this establishment who seems to think automatically all pain patients are drug addicts which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had nothing but the stink eye anytime people find out I have to use these meds. I don’t get this from my local Pharmacy. I could see the 1st time they would check if they’ve never saw me B 4. But if this every time, they can go blow…

  • Mike

    My name is Mike a 67yo pain patient as the result of a broken neck. I was hit head-on at 60mph by a drunk driver. Most with my injury die immediately but unfortunately I lived. I,ve had pharmacists actually smirk at me when they manage to get rxs dc, d. Alcohol is also a good painkiller but kills you quicker. Maybe justice would be best served while I, m in a drunken stupor and hit the same pharmacist head-on.

    • Educated6799

      Seriously, I didn’t understand Timothy McVeigh but I do now. He was executing our most sacred document that tells us it is our duty to fight, bear arms and kick out dictators. Our country is run by dictators just like Iran and the only difference is that our government hides everything.

  • Belinda Moore

    I left Walgreen’s at the beginning of this new procedure. I witnessed Walgreen pharmacist fill questionable prescriptions for months. I’d had a relationship with Walgreen’s for more than 13 years filling my pain medications. When they were in a position of being held accountable for their wrong doing, they actual questioned by doctor’s qualifications to rite my pain medication prescription…..eluding to the fact that they were more qualified to determine when and he he should provide my pin meds. This put me a cloudy prediciment , in Michigan pain prescriptions are mapped.I had no choice except leave WWalgreens. My leaving could have possibly viewed as trying to get my pin meds as a drug seeker instead of as a pain patient.

  • smackme420

    Walgreens is about to be my EX-Pharmacy- now that I read this. I have been suffering chronic pain for decades. Not until I medicated myself (which I found out later- this is a great excuse to under-treat you) did I find relief. First Alcohol for YEARS until it got noticed by many employers and was fired from many good jobs. Then, I went all the way. If Morphine is given but, in such small amounts- it only makes things worse by “teasing” my body, then Heroin must be better- it was. I felt wonderful- NO pain for the first time since my teens- I am now 56. I was happy with my primary Doctor’s 180 mg. daily with an additional 120 15 mg. tabs for “break-through” pain. I NEVER abused this medication as I KNEW this was my chance to make it the RIGHT way. Then, I got the worst news by him. He stated- the DEA now wants PAIN SPECIALISTS to see you IF you are CHRONIC. I went and was immediately cut off of the Break-through and my regular dose was cut IN HALF. I need not say- I felt BADLY for about 14 days until my body got adjusted to this new dose. I am in pain still, have to go through total BULLSHIT like seeing a Parole Officer by proving yourself innocent with a Urine Analysis. All because some bullshit government agency got involved with medicine. If you O.D.? tough- you should have paid attention to the warnings and did it right.

  • stationone123

    I had to stop at 20 pharmacies to get my oxycondone. Pharmacists discriminate. If you have the prescription for pain pills you have to shop around for someone with a heart. My advice…rent a wheelchair.

  • Psalms23

    I tell what we ALL need 2 do .. The only way we might get outer voices heard and I no that we r 2 sick 2 do this , but everyone in every state needs 2 set a date and get a group together on Facebook and take this 2 DC .. I know this sounds stupid and may b pointless . I’m not able 2 drove there I’ve lived in bed for almost 9 years I’m literally dying from only just 1 of my diseases . I need HELP !! YOU ALL NEED HELP .. LETS FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS.. I’m not saying it will work . BUT WHAT R WE GOING 2 Do!! Were in trouble hear. We have legit chronic pain were not druggies were sick and suffering and we need our meds. WE GOT TO DO SOMETHING !!

  • boydp182

    I was using Walgreens for 3 years for my regular pain meds which one was 15mg oxycodone ir. One day they told me they can’t fill for me anymore and there are only 2 doctors they will fill for. It is just unreal. I have a valid prescription from a valid doctor with a valid DEA license and get turned away. I stayed at one pharmacy so it wouldn’t throw up any red flags. Now I have to go pharmacy shopping every month hoping somebody will fill it so I don’t go into severe withdrawals. CVS, Rite Aid and all the others are just the same. Even the mom and pops won’t do it. You also have to live and have your doctor and the pharmacy within 15 mile radius which is almost impossible. The Drug inspectors have scared the living daylights out of these pharmacies and us patients are getting red flagged because we have to go around to different pharmacies. There is just nothing left to do. It’s just awful. I will probably have to check myself into detox eventually to avoid dangerous withdrawals and we are treated like skum every time we try and fill our meds.

  • Leah

    Walgreens and a pharmacist get to decide if I’m in pain. Guess what? I left them a long time ago. What gives them the right to treat me like a criminal? I have had 4 back surgeries, one heart, hip surgery and severe arthritis in my shoulders and hips. I went there and some cranky old man looks at me up and down, due to the fact I’m in my early 40′s and thinks I must be drug seeking. Sir, I am a very well educated person that just happens to have terrible health and you do not deserve the job you have. Walgreen’s should lose their customers. I am so tired of being treated like some terrible criminal when I’ve never even had a ticket in my life…..My crime, being in pain in America.

  • Ashley

    In my town we have 5 other pharmacies to choose from besides Walgreens, I’d say just switch pharmacies but I know not too many people can do that. What about mail order is that an option?

    • thejoggingyenta

      you can’t get mail order narcotics. Pity.

  • minditorletitgo

    karma. UNTIL it happens to them. let them get a dose of pain that never stops and keeps building and building until you want to kill yourself THEN let them tell the rest of us HOW IT IS.

    ‘good faith’ SCREW GOOD FAITH!

    i say let them all suffer from something that can’t be fixed until they MUST take medications in order to STOP the pain.

    MH sufferer, let’s just say it’s not FUN at all. people don’t know when to MIND their OWN.

    remembers a story of a DEA agent who got a good taste of karma after he successfully helped this program to make it difficult to impossible to get medications for pain…. now he’s got a terminal w/out medications condition and now he’s all sorry, awwwww.. well, well, well.. he got a good dose of what was coming to him.

    • minditorletitgo

      chronic pain is one nightmare.. don’t forget us terminal pain sufferers. yes, we can live a sorta, almost, maybe life IF we get access to medications… to not only help the pain but to fix the condition (but only when you continue the meds does it “fix”… ) problem is.. seems research is always on the back burners and sluggish to come to terms to a cure at any time.

      politicians priorities are always on WAR instead of PROGRESS!

      i can’t stand it any more the way people do things.

  • Christopher C

    My Mother is 85 and I find it absurd that these people won’t fill prescriptions for individuals.I never knew this had occurred and it seems to me Walgreens has decided to neglect elder,anyone over 50 really,patients,who have extremely painful debilitating conditions.I con only go to facebook,linked in and twitter and hammer these unbelievably,incompetent,uncaring,me first company.I take my Mother to her Pain Relief specialist,and one can readily see the people who may be of questionable motives,however considering this is peoples lives at stake,I think this is an instance where profilingshould supercede denying legitimate patients.
    atients.

  • Eve Dallas

    Government overreach is increasingly something ALL Americans should feel uneasy about. (If you disagree, just do a close reading of the Patriot Act.) At times, it disturbingly feels like we’re moving toward a quasi-police state. I don’t think our Forefathers would approve. I had no idea members of the DEA held medical and pharmD degrees. Apparently they do, given THEY decide, every December, the TOTAL quantity of, say, oxycodone that can be made, distributed, and sold for THE FOLLOWING 12 MONTHS. Which is why many patients in the fall suddenly have problems getting a script for oxycodone filled; the DEA-set quota for the year has been met. Equally disturbing is how the DEA endangers lives. These are not drugs that can be suddenly stopped. Like prednisone or lorazepam, you must be weaned off these meds, else your body goes into withdrawal, which in the very ill or the elderly ill, can actually result in death. Pill mills SHOULD be shut down, but not using the kneejerk reaction the DEA seems to favor. (And does anyone else find it interesting that California–at least in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, etc., wherever the rich and famous live–seems to get a pass. How many times do we see news about this or that TV or movie star hooked on Vicodin or some other narcotic, caught with a bottle of pills NOT in their name? Yet the DEA seems to give them a pass, and go to the other extreme in Florida.

    Ironically, not 5-10 years ago respected medical journals warned of a shortage of doctors/anesthesiologists trained in pain management. That undertreated pain was, in fact, almost an epidemic, resulted in millions of dollars of lost productivity due to pain-related sick days by employees. Now we are heading toward an “epidemic” of its opposite–undertreated and ill-managed chronic pain patients who cost taxpayers millions of dollars in E.R. visits for intractable pain and who are uninsured. And who add to lost productivity simply because their pain can’t be managed because of the DEA and FDA’s draconian tactics.n

  • drake g

    Easist way (and you will have to do anyway) why not stop using walgreens. If you cant fill your pain med, dont fill any other med at walgreens either. Lets put them out of buisness and show we can say “no more or again” to the goverment and its bitch.

  • Gbo

    DEA is now acting just as the Mafia did in NY in the 1970′s threatening Doctors and Pharmacists alike. We are now the USSR, a communist country, when a government agency that has not 1 month of medical training can go and over say what a doctor that spent 10 years educating and performing rotation and residency. It is way way beyond what the US Government should be doing. We need to reform the DEA’s ability to threaten and influence US citizens and Workers, as well as licensed doctors and pharmacists, as well as pharmacies. God forbid that one of these DEA agents gets chronic pain, and then tries to fill their medicine (oh wait, they will just whip out the badge and get their prescription filled)!!!!!!!!!

    • Concerned patient

      Wow, I just want to say, thank god I am not alone. The DEA is possibly the most destructive organization in modern society. They are killing millions of patients through their involvement in our nation’s medical care. They are not doctors and they should not have the power to influence medical decisions. The part that gets at me most is that people actually believe the fight against the “prescription abuse epidemic” is even valid to begin with. Trying to stop addiction by trying to stop the flow of addictive chemicals is a senseless battle. All it does is create a ramped black-market and fill up prisons. The war on drugs has become the war on, not only the addicts (who are sick, not criminal), but also on chronics pain patients, doctors, and pharmacists. Doctors and pharmacists who put compassion for their patients in front of the arbitrary regulations of the DEA are subject to criminal prosecution!
      I long for the day when the DEA finally realizes that you cannot prevent addicts from getting their drugs. How do you stop the prescription abuse (and illicit drug abuse for that matter) epidemic? Focus on treating addiction medically. For addicts who fail to get clean through counseling alone, give them a safe, medically regulated supply of their drug of choice or a substitution drug (such as Buprenorphine for opioid addicts).Some countries are already doing this for heroin addiction and the results are impressive. If the money currently being spent on the war on drugs was instead spent on addiction treatment, everyone could win. Drug overdose rates would drop and chronic pain patients would get the medicines they need.

    • kkk

      GBO I AGREE MY BOYFRIEND HAS LOST A LEG, HEAD TRAUMA, HALF HIS EYE VISION LEGALLY DECLARED BLIND….DUE TO A DRUNK AND DRUGGED UP DRIVER THAT NEVER GOT CHARGED ANYTHING AND NEVER JAIL TIME NOT EVEN 1 DAY……TELL ME HE HAS NO PAIN!!!!!! I PRAY TO GOD TO TOUCH ALL DEA AGENTS BECAUSE OF GOD AND THE DOCTORS THAT GOD GAVE MY BOYFRIEND KEPT HIM ALIVE (TESTOMY IS TRUE) AND THE DEA IS NOT GOD…..MY COMMENT IS ANY DEA AGENT LOSE A LIMB AND TELL ME THERE IS NO PAIN…….AND ONCE AGAIN I WANT TO THANK GOD FOR KEEPING HIM ALIVE DEA WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!!!!

  • Brad Robinson

    ban walgreens eazy

  • anoy

    it will be a sad day,when patients w/legitimate need for this are denied..med.as a retired construction laborer 25/yrs.i use vicodin med fairly regularly..these fat a.. bureaucrat gov. policy makers can’t understand running an air hammer 60 hrs a week.let alone what this does to u after 25 years!!!!

  • Bryan in Orlando

    I have been living with pain since an auto accident that happened in 2001. I have had five spine surgeries, contracted a MRSA in the process, and have been on Oxycontin and Dilaudid for over 10 years now. I’ve had the same doctor then entire time and he is my primary physician for another chronic illness. It got so bad that I ws having to pay $800 OUT OF POCKET every month until I FINALLY fell into “catastrophic coverage,” But now I can’t find anyone who can get me my meds. I am made to feel like a criminal every time I have to fill my scripts. I have done NOTHING WRONG – the accident wasn’t even my fault! I lost my job and career making $80,000 a year working in non profit, helping people who live with diabetes. Now, every month, I have the stress of wondering IF and WHERE I will find my needed medication, I have even started seeing a pain specialist, hoping that would help but that costs me $40 a month out of pocket copays and I live…. or rather SURVIVE on only $1600 a month. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I cannot continue in this pain and stress.

  • Night_Rider

    For those that think one can simply go to a different competing pharmacy in lieu of Walgreen’s you better think again. It gets worse. In the area of Florida, where I live, Walgreen’s is the pretty much the only place where one can get his / her prescription filled for controlled substances. CVS, Wal-Mart, Publix, and all the other pharmacies have reduced the amount of prescription pain killers they dispense (if they dispense them at all) to 20% of previous year’s levels (per a CVS Pharmacist). There are several of those pharmacies with in two miles of my house, where I have tried to get my prescriptions filled at them every month for the last year (at least), and they NEVER have any. Always OUT OF STOCK. I have found one Walgreen’s, that is located 18 miles from my house, that will / can fill my prescriptions reliably. Now this pharmacy is demanding that I do all of my ‘drug’ business with them or they won’t dispense my controlled substances. They even told me I had to transfer the prescriptions for the medication I have been getting for FREE, at Publix, to Walgreen’s and PAY for it each month. I had to give them the info they needed to transfer it, right then and there, because they were refusing to dispense my controlled substances if I didn’t. Now, I have to drive 36 miles round trip and pay $15 for a prescription that I was getting for free. I am on a fixed income and now have to bear the cost of the added expense. And the people at Walgreen’s didn’t care when I complained about it. They don’t give a crap. I am working toward getting everything filled at the same time so I only have to make one trip but it takes a while to do that. What do I do… stop taking my BP medication for a while? It is a shame that people treat their dog or cat (sometime reptiles) with more compassion and understanding than they do other people. What I want to know is where are those Politicians who are forever on the TV claiming that they will “Stand up for you and fight for your rights”? Perhaps this is one of the reasons that they are not very popular these days.

    • Eve Dallas

      You need to stand up and fight for YOUR rights. Be a pest: constantly call and email your legislators about the problem. Contact your local TV news affiliates, your local newspaper. Create a YouTube video. Start a petition on change.org. You need to be the pebble in their shoe, refuse to go away until the problem is addressed.

  • Painguy

    This is why it’s so much easier to buy heroin. Get more fore less $. And also way less hassle. Ive just grown tired of doctors to get to where they lock the drugs and dole them out overpriced. They think they know when it’s ok to not feel pain vs you just get to feel pain the rest of your life sorry for you…now get out and join a club or something.
    I’ve had enough of this system.
    The free market has totally solved this problem. Just buy heroin. But be safe and test your new supply due to no regulation it’s not a known measured supply.
    F you doctors, DEA and the bunch.
    You lose.
    Signed Engineer In Pain.

    • MDusty Roades

      I’d have no idea where to buy the stuff or use it.

    • Psalms23

      Heroin ?? Don’t u shoot u that drug?? I don’t no nothing about this stuff or where to buy it either . Is it like oxicodone ?

  • angryoldman1922

    We will give you your meds as soon as the process is completed . Lets see here, you papers are in order, and the doctors papers are in order , but we will be needing authorization from the DEA giving time to our instore therapy coordinator to interview you and give blood and pee test you before criminal and medical records and criminal history are reveiewed. Should there be no red flags, you may pay 25 times the actual value for your medication. Please give the receipt to the guard at the exit scanner. And thankyou for shopping at wallmart your lo cost leader.

  • ltob

    I was laid off in 2011, and have not been able to get another job. I suffer from spinal stenosis, severe DDD and DJD, sciatica, and the pain from my neck and spine radiates to both shoulders and both hips. I am treated terribly, by the office staff at my doctor’s office, because I cannot pay my full bill every 3 months. I have to pay cash for my prescriptions, the cost of which continually rises. And, worst of all, no one (MD office or pharmacy) seems to understand that 30 days worth of medication does NOT fall on the same date every month. If it is filled on the 5th day of a 31-day month, then 30 days’ worth would run out on the 3rd day of the following month. What little money I DO have, has to go towards doctor bills every 3 months, and the enormously high cash price I must pay, every month (every 30 days) at the pharmacy. I am always treated as a drug addict, even though I take my medication as prescribed. It is sad that some people, who are only using these meds to get high, have made it almost impossible for those of us, who are in legitimate pain, to get their medications. We should not be discriminated against. And, Walgreens pharmacies are becoming the worst. My chronic pain, and my medications used, to make my life bearable, are not the business of the pharmacies. I live in Florida, and it only gets worse, every single month. I am in the process of applying for disability, because even sitting causes pain, and I’ve not had a full night’s sleep in many years, because the pain wakes me up. Is there not a way that real, chronic-pain patients can protest? And, to whom do we protest? I also have hypertension, and a heart condition, and this situation is stressing me out so much, that I am having frequent episodes of chest pain, as well as tachycardia and hypertension.

    • Crystal

      send an email to Pam Bondi office of the atty general we are all doing this in hopes that we will stop overpaying for our medication and get some regulations in place to protect chronic pain sufferers

  • Jusfrustraded

    the only thing I read is that, every one making a complain on how bad we had been treated, but it is something we can do as a customer and as a patient trying to get the meds? In my case the pharmacist make false accusations toward me say that I was selling them or taking them more than what the doctor provided me. I felt humiliated in front of other customers mentioning what type of meds I was getting that time also I felt stereotyped because my ethnicity.

  • Furious wife

    My husband now lies in an incoherent condition in the ICU b/c every Walgreens in our county refused to fill his prescription b/c it came from a Specialist in the city in an adjacent county. His regular pharmacy was out of his meds. We tried both counties & no pharmacies would fill it. His doctor refused to give him a prescription for another med that was in stock. He is only 48. He is a father of 2 great kids. He has a crushed spine & severe rheumatoid arthritis. I just asked the Walgreens pharmacist if the sudden withdrawal of this med could cause stroke & she told me that it could not. However, according to all medical information about the med I can find, it certainly can & will cause a stroke. Both the physician, who told him it was not her problem, and these pharmacies have likely caused my husband permanent damage, if not death or vegetative state. I’m in Florida. What should I do?

    • Crystal

      GET A DAMN LAWYER NOW…… If you contact the drug manufacturer they will tell you that you cannot just stop taking the medication, your blood pressure can go so high that you stroke out then call Walgreens at 1800walgreens and report the pharmacist that told you that, the pharmacist knows more about the pain medication than most doctors do,,, I just sent an email to Pam Bondi Florida Atty General she is the only one that can help and has full authority per the law to change regulations, if everyone would stop being scared and speakup to the people that matter instead of us blogging out our frustrations maybe someone would help us. Tell them what these mom and pop pharmacies are charging and doing to us…

    • James

      As a pharmacist, I apologize for everyone in this discussion’s horrible experiences but I do feel compelled to say that opioid withdrawal is very much considered not life-threatening. Even in the the guidelines from chronic noncancerous pain in the journal of pain (published by MDs, since many people here do not respect a doctor of Pharmacy degree) “opioid withdrawal can be very unpleasant, but is generally not life-threatening.” the pharmacist that told that to you, while could definitely have been far more professional, wasn’t giving you incorrect information or poor medical advice. I hope your husband is able to recover but do not displace your anger and point fingers where they are not owed.

      • MDusty Roades

        BLOW ME

        WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO TELL ANOTHER HUMAN BEING HOW MUCH PAIN THEY BE FORCED TO GO THROUGH??

  • Mandy Seekins Wood

    I found this page because I googled to find out what the heck the GFD sticker on the rx bag meant. Seems like this is the opposite of good faith, with the pharmacy grilling doctors about their practice. The people in Walgreens shouldn’t get to know the details discussed with doctors. insurance companies don’t tend to approve fluff scripts for controlled substances – they check it out, isn’t that a good safeguard for insured customers? I have to hand carry a paper rx to the pharmacy every month, and we see the dr a couple weeks before the meds are due to run out. i thought the insurance company was the hold up, so i’ve been dropping the rx off early, asking they start the process, with a pick up date within the “window” and so far, no delay. Wouldn’t work for new rx’s, but may help someone to try this.

  • Caught in the middle

    This is a very interesting discussion. Many of you have seemed to miss the point of “good faith dispensing”. It is an attempt to justify incredibly high doses of narcotic use at the prompting of the DEA using FDA recommendations. The DEA can’t seem to stop doctors from over prescribing, so they are making the pharmacists the police squad. It is not the law as some doctors have apparently been told, but at the same time the doctor should be willing to work with the pharmacist if they truly care about their patient’s well being. It is not a good system by any means, and the pharmacist has discretion, but see how you respond when the DEA comes knocking on your door threatening and imposing huge fines. And just to note, Walgreens is not the only pharmacy doing this. Other national pharmacy chains have much stricter policies. So before you vilify the pharmacist for trying to justify extreme doses of narcotics, please evaluate what is really going on. Thanks.

    • Strangelove

      But not everyone’s doses are extreme. A 5-day supply of 5 mg pain meds is not really extreme, especially if it is a medication you have never taken before. I agree that the DEA is overreaching, but you have no right to generalize and say that everyone here is on unbelievably high and unnecessary doses of narcotics.

      • Eve Dallas

        Exactly. The pharmacist is NOT your doctor. If he/she has a problem about your script, then the pharmacist should be calling the doctor to verify. The DEA threaten pharmacists (ie, revoke or suspend their dispensing license) and doctors, so their reticence is understandable–to a point. Why are Americans such wimps these days? It is good to be able to vent on a site like this, but it won’t change anything. You need to make your legislators aware (and aware that you are a VOTER), your news organizations, contact CNN, MSNBC, FOX with a “story tip” on what is happening in your community. Squeaky wheels DO get the grease. And often nothing gets a lazy politician off his/her butt except a threat you are a registered voter and you are going to make all his/her constituents aware that you apprised him of the situation and he did nothing about it.

  • Mickey

    Absolutely disgusting that there are so many people who have no compassion or common sense. If you are so paranoid over people being on drugs to the point where you want to keep sick people bed-ridden without their painkillers, then you better hope someday YOU aren’t the patient! We all know there are drug addicts in this country, this is not about that. This is about making it harder for innocent people who already have miserable lives. And now the new FDA ruling today really takes hope away from so many people.

    • Psalms23

      I’m lived in bed for almost 9 years. I suffer death every day every sec hr of my life even with pain meds I still don’t have a life but atleast I can tolerate . Mickey I couldn’t have said it better myself ..

  • Heather Glass

    I am a chronic pain patient since 2012. I had an infusion in September 2012 with a medication to harden my bones due to osteoporosis caused from gastric bypass surgery & chronic vitamin D/B12 deficiency. I was told to expect “mild, flu-like symptoms”. What I got was three days of fevers from 103 – 105 degrees which caused severe dehydration that led to an ER visit for rapid rehydration and chronic pain in all of my bones like they were on fire. Since this poison was infused, I had no way of reversing it once it had been delivered. I was left with the inability to sit or stand for more than 10 – 15 minutes at a time without having to get up and take a breather (which is not cool when you work 40 hours a week plus go to school 20+ hours a week). Then my son was in a severe car accident in another state where he sustained a massive traumatic brain injury so I spent weeks in the various facilities with him while he was in a coma and participating in his rehab, driving 4+ hours each way to be there with him. I haven’t been able to get a full night’s sleep in over a year now because of pain, and there is never a day where I am without pain. Luckily, the bone pain is over but now I have fibromyalgia where there are good days, manageable days, and days that nothing gets done. I see a highly respectable and nationally ranked pain medicine clinic for my monthly medication checks and refills, and have never failed a urine screen because I take my medications responsibly (I am also not an addict so I have no addiction issues). I am now at a point where I receive trigger point injections in conjunction with the Percocet/Ultram/Skelaxin/Effexor ER that I take daily to deal with the fibromyalgia. I also eat organically and exercise by doing yoga and pilates to help with as much of the pain as possible.

    Walgreen’s is the pharmacy right at the exit ramp I take to go home and they have a drive through pharmacy, so I usually have my husband drop it off as he gets off from work and then pick it up an hour later once I’m on my way home. I have been using them solely since our insurance switched in January of this year and they became our pharmacy provider of choice due to zero copay when we use their pharmacy.

    With my last refill two weeks ago, I called from my office while my husband was standing here so that I didn’t waste him time dropping off the prescriptions if they were out of the meds. I asked if they had the Percocet in stock since that’s typically the one I have a hard time getting. I was told that they don’t release that information over the phone. I explained to them that I am an established patient of their pharmacy and that they had two of the e-scripts already sent to them by my doc for refilling and that I just wanted to verify that they had the specific number in stock so that my order could be completely filled so that I didn’t need to send my husband elsewhere. She was adamant that she couldn’t give me that information over the phone. I asked to speak to her supervisor who reluctantly told me yes but in the future I’d have to come in and find out because they can get in trouble for releasing that information.

    The state of Maryland (where I live, just outside of Washington, DC) uses a database run by the Commonwealth of Virginia to verify people’s prescription habits. Since we are a tri-state metropolitan area, all of the pharmacies (DC/MD/VA) use this database which I have no problem with. I also have no problem with them scanning my ID or my husband’s ID to prove that I received the medication and finding out that neither he nor I are abusers of the system. Based on how difficult Walgreen’s has chosen to make this process, I will look into more independent pharmacies even if it does cost me more money out of pocket. My time and how I am treated is valuable to me.

  • Hempista

    Folks, I too have multiple autoimmune diseases and chronic pain and I am so thankful to live in California where I can go to the legal pot dispensary, have my choice of natural pain medicine in an array of fun flavors and formats, where I am treated with respect and dignity for my pain issues. The DEA and Wallgreens can go get bent.

  • American consumer

    Dear Walgreens – you are NOT a doctor specializing in my particular condition. You have no need to access my personal medical information. You CAN NOT treat my condition by issuing diagnostic testing AND then decide what medications are appropriate to treat my medical condition.
    You CAN work in conjunction with your pharmacists – valued and learned professionals – who study the interaction of multiple medications to protect me from their negative effects on my health.
    You CAN insure that I have a good quality of life by making sure I have access to the medication my DOCTOR has prescribed for me for continued good health so I can live my life fully.
    If you continue to create obstacles so I can not fill my prescriptions in a timely manner and on a regular basis I WILL use another pharmacy that is focused on helping me maintain a full and happy lifestyle as is possible.
    Be well! The American Consumer

    • James

      Pharmacists these days are mostly doctors of Pharmacy, who, against there will, have their licenses targeted for failing to identify appropriateness of every therapy through the door. It would make their life much easier to not have to do these obstacles in the middle of evaluating 300 prescriptions every day. The anger is pointed at the pharmacies but it says right here in the article Walgreens was fined 80 million dollars for complacency filling legitimate prescriptions. Everyone here is forgetting that pharmacists role in health care is safety. People see multiple doctors and multiple specialists who do not always have up to date medication profiles, and medications are chemicals, many of which interact within the body. Just because a doctor writes a script does not mean it is appropriate for you. Not to say the doctor does not know what they are doing, but they may not be aware of every medication you’re on. If the pharmacist role was as minimal as most of these posters seem to think it is, it wouldn’t require 8+years of college to earn the doctorate degree and have survived for 100′s of years as part of the health care system.

      • Ken Erickson

        Really James? Their is this new invention, maybe you have heard of it. It’s called computer software. If all your medications are in the system and if a conflict arises between two or more medication formulas, it can be identified much more effectively. The need for a doctorate in pharmacy on every drug store corner has long been and should be done away with. If I can write avionics software and make a plane fly on it’s own, which I do, thats called autopilot for anyone wondering, I don’t need to be in the aircraft when it is programmed to fly and change course multiple times. It’s the wannabe ego pharmacists that our outdated that contribute to the obscure health costs in this country while only giving third world care at best. So to justify 8 years of training and 100 years of service as being the cornerstone of pharmaceutical medicine and why it should not be eliminated almost entirely beyond my grasp. Every month I have to fight with the pharmacist for my wife’s medication and the money wasted going back and forth between all parties is unimaginable on the grand scale. Any person of exceptional intelligence that can read, write, and posess a few other skills can simply dispense the correct medication in the proper amount will do. Keep the mail order pharmacies around maybe to justify a rare few. But please modern day technology can far out replace the local drugstore pharmacist if our system of big corporate shareholders wasn’t running this country. Since switching to mail order I have not had one issue and guess what. I don’t have to speak with a pharmacist. And 85 percent of people don’t need their input either.

  • AVH

    I have 5 chronic pain conditions, one of which I’ve had since I was 16 years old. Over the past decade, I’ve gone through all of the steps trying to remedy my main problems; physical therapy, massage, water therapy, non-narcotic pain medications, injections…nothing helped. It progressed to the point where I am now unable to work and must take scheduled medications just to function somewhat normally – which to me is basically being able to sit up without crying and screaming in constant, utter agony. But to one of the commentors, and many other uneducated, un-compassionate, privileged (to not be in terrible unending pain 24/7) others, I am simply “whining” when I become upset when I am unable to now fill the medications that allow me to have some kind of a life. I usually do not wish harm upon others, but perhaps in some cases, one can only understand how I feel by experiencing it first-hand and therefore I really do hope that some day soon these types of people end up in my shoes so they can go through it ALL. And I don’t just mean the pain. I mean the constant stigma that is upon CPP’s (chronic pain patients) for the medications we take. The ignorance of the public and often our own family members and their hurtful, demeaning points of view. The cruel opinions of doctors who are caught up in the DEA’s witch-hunt…who can often ruin one’s reputation with a single stroke of their pen. And yes, the horrible, constant stereotyping, lies, and denial of treatment by pharmacies and their staff who believe their opinions about our course of treatment somehow out-weighs the relationship and treatment we’ve established with our doctors. As it has already been said, these restrictions and “policies” like the one Walgreen’s has now implemented has done MUCH more harm than good. Illicit drug-abusers and seekers will find their fix no matter what. LEGITIMATE patients will follow the rules, jump (or limp more likely) through all the hoops, and do everything they are told to a “T” because they KNOW this is part of the requirement to have proper healthcare for such difficult conditions. However, some – what seems like MOST – of the pharmacists are so scared and/or so self-righteous with their own mythological perspectives on the need for pain medications that they take their position of coorporate-bestowed authority to sickening levels. Too many will simply lie to your face without even bothering to check your records. Too many will give you the “I don’t feel comfortable filling this” line even after they get the appropriate information and clearance from the prescriber. Too many will insult and even over-step their bounds and try to give you their own healthcare advice…yes I have even been told that I should go to a methadone clinic instead. So to the “pharmacist” in this thread who CLAIMS that “honest patients who need medication are getting their medications” is either living in some complete fantasy-land, in total denial that they are more than likely turning away people in need, or is just blowing a load of smoke here. I, along with HUNDREDS of other patients I have direct contact with ARE NOT GETTING THE MEDICATIONS NEEDED. And the idea that this policy only adds a little bit of time to the time needed to fill is also complete nonsense. Some people have had to wait SEVERAL DAYS, without medication, waiting for all of the appropriate information to pass hands. Sorry folks, but you’re just dreaming if you don’t think this is a problem and SERIOUSLY HURTING people, or that ONLY the “junkies” are getting targeted and weeded out for “just cause”.

    In essence, these kind of policies and over-stepping of bounds have replaced my prescription for medication with a prescription for continued torture.

    • Damien Bartee

      As a sufferer of pancreatic cancer I must now jump through more hoops and never know from one month to the next if I will be able to get my medicine, where I can get my prescription filled or if i will have enough energy /stamina to drive around town , or to adjoining towns trying to have it filled.

      • Patricia Martinez

        This is Shameful!

      • Tomenes Belinda

        Some medicaid programs have started a Restricted Patient program. One reason patients end up on that is because Medicaid sees that they are going to too many different pharmacy’s. I personally was dealing with the same problem trying to get my meds… but Medicaid sent me a letter telling me that I was using the system. I now have to have one doctor and one pharmacy. All other doctors will be denied and pharmacy’s. What if my pharmacy can’t give me my meds? I was put in the position where I had to go to different pharmacy’s and the state flagged me as an addict! When my pharmacy can’t give me my meds… the withdrawls i have to deal with makes me incredibly sick.

        • Guest

          Oh dear, 6 days now without my medications and I have had enough.

    • James

      When your livelihood is threatened, especially one that often leads to hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loans to earn, you tend to do what your told. I do not disagree that patients are not getting their needed therapy and I think that is a huge problem, but I also see a lot of people with minimal knowledge of the health care system talking down about pharmacists who go to school for 8+ years to earn a doctorate degree as idiots, in addition to the DRASTIC down playing of the current prescription abuse problem. Pain is a very serious problem. Not getting pain meds is even more serious for a chronic pain patient. Threatening someone’s livelihood is very serious and controlling distribution is very serious. It’s a broken system right now but it’s not without cause and unfortunately the only way to fix it is to take 1 step at a time. As a pharmacist, and a proud pharmacist at that, I do know full well that there are some, many, who are terrified to dispensed schedule II narcotics at all and that is horrible for the patients. Also, I’ve seen people reference this Florida fine as ‘a mistake in Florida.’ this mistake was blindly filling all Schedule I I prescriptions, and they were legitimate prescriptions by licensed MDs, and they were punished for it. Everyone is attacking Walgreens and their pharmacists but unfortunately they are only doing what they are expected to with the recent history of being punished otherwise.

      • Jill

        Yes, you are right, when livelihoods are threatened it has the potential to be catastrophic. Please be advised, that as a chronic pain patient, who is 44, and has had seven spinal fusions, starting at age 18 and as recently as age 42; I too have a career that nets me over a MILLION DOLLARS per year. I too have a graduate degree, but with zero debt. I have been prescribed oxycontin and dilaudid every 29 days, by the SAME pain management doctor for close to a decade. I depend on my pain medications to relieve my constant, chronic, irretractible pain, to a level that I can MOVE to walk in the mornings. It enables me to tolerate the 100 hour work weeks in a highly specialized, highly respected career. Yes, there are people out there who abuse the system, just as there are abusers of any system… But the self righteous indignation, erroneous presumption and constant need for validation of status as to the “Doctors of Pharmacy” is really old. We all have daily hurdles, and our society as a whole is really ugly. I have YET to encounter a corpo-pharm that exhibits a modicum of compassion or education of chronic pain.

        • James

          Let me be clear that I completed agree with a number of your points. I am disgusted with the way some (once again, many) pharmacists treat chronic paid patients (and for the record, equally disgusted with the way many patients treat their pharmacist or more importantly, the techs). But what people fail to realize is that any self respecting pharmacist is analyzing the same trials and guidelines that these doctors are with the same understanding capabilities and what no one will dispute is that there is little evidence to support the use of chronic opioid therapy in chronic noncancerous pain and there is, in fact, (equally little) evidence against the use of excessive doses (>200 my oral morphine equivalents per day) . I am not at all saying that they should not be used or that it is not effective, just that it has not been thoroughly researched. Additionally, it is pretty much universally agreed that chronic pain is DRASTICALLY undertreated and the abuse of prescription medication is DRASTICALLY rising. Prescription medications have officially surpassed illicit drugs for the first time ever for abuse in the United States. We have 2 bulls running straight into each other. I want to be the first to apologize for the pharmacists who blindly and unprofessionally judge (there should be absolutely no judgement in health care period) any patient that comes into their Pharmacy for treatment but many people seem to have the same blinders on, focusing on solely their own wellbeing. I reiterate from my first post, we have a horribly broken system right now. Pharmacists should not be alienating patients or doctors, we should be working together to provide the best health care available to our patients. However if you were asked on a daily basis to break the law and jeopardize your livelihood as often as we are, you may see how some have gotten to where they are. We don’t want to be the police, that’s not why we went to school and that’s not why we chose this practice; it is just the way things have been forced upon us at the time. I’m new to this disqus (or whatever it is) but if there is a way to message outside of the blog and you would like to continue communication I would be happy to talk more.

          • Bob

            If your trying to say that you are diligent and methodical, I find that hard to believe when you are too damn lazy to correctly spell a two (2) character abbreviation i.e.: mg for milligram…not very characteristic of your scientific curiosity. I take it you are a Technician, not one of the so called Doctors of Pharmacy which are the exception to the rule. Most Pharmacists have a either a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Master of Pharmacy, or Doctor of Pharmacy, but the first is most common and the latter two are obtained by those engaged mostly in research. You sir or madame are merely whining about the technicality of doing your pathetic little job, and please do not attempt to pretend that you care anything about patients or the compassion for which a real MD is charged by virtue of the oath they swore upon the conferral of their degree. I have suffered for 20 some odd years with severe back pain and never once filled a prescription more than once per month, nor sold the product of that prescription, or received more than the one prescription my primary care MD prescribed. My wife now has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer spread to distant organs including bone and for this here prescriptions are purely a quality of the remaining days of life she has left. Compare this testimony with that of the despicable, low life junkies upon which legislatures relied up to found these laws. Those poor soles complaining that men and women of the Pharmaceutical and Medical field, who had too much freedom, led to the ruination of their lives when they took pills prescribed by real MDs or received from their improperly supervised friends instantly led to their life-long addictions, are the weakest among us. What a travesty that the damaged apples in a barrel should define the world for the rest of the law abiding citizens of this Commonwealth (MA) or for the country.

          • Justin Lesniewski

            Man…I think its messed up I do. But is taking drugs for the rest of our lives the answer? I mean, look at it this way— if the PKs are really good at alleviating pain, then wouldn’t they eventually have a backlash? A time when they dont work? And is the answer a higher dosage? Something I’ve learned about drugs is that, whatever they release in the brain that alleviates your pain, has a finite source. there is nothing in that drug that directly helps your problem, it just releases chemicals in your mind that help you, and are designed to. the drugs are just designed to trigger the brain. SO …. And following this line of reasoning, since the body (brain) has come to rely on this easy method of alleviating pain it has forgotten how to pull its own triggers. Now I know certain conditions make this seem very unconsiderate but I leave it up to medical doctors to treat people who are dying, or in cancerous pain… now people I’m not vilifying you but we must ask ourselves if this is the best way to go. Studies show that taking painkillers long enough will cause even more pain. I think we can handle this if the doctors would stop prescribing insane amounts to people. In the end I blame the doctors, they go to school all those years and they still cant explain these drugs to you because THEY DONT EVEN TAKE THEM… I have a doctor who prescribes me Benzodiazepines, a moderate dose. luckily enough for this innocent doctor I am not abusive with them, but he has offered to up my dosage, however I have done the responsible thing and told him I would rather the medication continue to work, and avoid the possible addiction. ….I dont have Chronic Pain, so I’m not judging anyone, this is just my opinion, and I read a bit online about whether they actually help people in the long run. (is it viable to take painkillers for years and years) at the right dosage? sure? Hey this isnt working anymore, give me something stronger? Next month, something stronger… Doctor? Hello?…..Something wrong here.

          • Justin Lesniewski

            I wanted to add that im sorry if my reply is off topic. As for the headline, Do I believe in this new walgreens crackdown? Hell No. Its completely rude. Is it perhaps necessary? Nah. Doctors need to be responsible, and pharmacists need to do what they were trained to do, answer questions, and fill prescriptions.

        • Greg Thompson

          Amen Jill. We can blame it on the those who abuse, sell or turn to heroin when they can’t get a legal prescription, and the drug dealer doctors who run the pill mills. I myself am sick of the stereotyping I get, the profiling. I’m amazed I haven’t smacked one of these arrogant pricks. Instead I tell them they should pray they never EVER have to deal with what us TRUE patients go through. But GOD knows I want to poke them in the eye. Just once…

      • Paul Smith

        I respect pharmacists and what they must go through in dealing with legitimate pain patients and addicts , and in no way am I downplaying the education of pharmacists. However, the 8 years of education you speak of is specific to the actual medications as opposed to the training and education that these Medical Doctors have undergone, in which they spend their years of education learning how to diagnose, and treat patients, and not just the specifics of medications and dosages etc. I’m sure that no Pharmacist would want their tech giving them orders on how to dispense medications. Though Pharmacists are very well educated about medications, and the dispensing of them, that still in no way makes a Pharmacist a Medical Doctor. The precise job of the Pharmacist, in short, is to fill the prescription provided to the patient by their M.D..Yes, a Pharmacist absolutely has the right and duty to confirm any questionable prescription, but to go so far as to ask for diagnosis, therapies, and even WHY a Medical Doctor prescribed a medication, isn’t only insulting to the legitimate pain patients, but the Physicians as well, and Yes, very much so overstepped the boundaries of the job of a Pharmacist. As it is Doctors have insurance companies acting as Doctors, now Pharmacists as well? ? It’s almost as if, between the insurance companies and now Pharmacists, why even bother with medical school at all? Apparently, we no longer require their education, rather, any of us with Any kind of medical or pharmaceutical training, or insurance adjusters for that matter can just take over for them completely . Its absolutely ridiculous.

        • James

          first want to thank you for phrasing your disagreement in a respectful manner. It is much appreciated. And I agree with you, the job that forced upon us is a slap in the face to doctors and one that we have little right to take on. I will say that the doctor of Pharmacy curriculum does come with a significant amount of study into the disease States and diagnosis, which was the major factor in its promotion to being a doctorate, however not nearly enough to give us overriding authority over doctors. Most doctors that I know say they would never recommend their children follow in their foot steps with how the field has changed. In addition, insurance companies are pretty much the bain of my existence on a daily basis. I just as much time arguing with them for overrides (especially on continued chronic therapy that patients have been on for years) than I do actually doing the job I studied for and am paid to do. It’s a completely broken system and one that needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, though, do to the nature of addiction and pain management, the lack of understanding on either side has left a clash where their should be teamwork. I think it’s important to stay vocal about the negatives so that they stay in the spot light, but it is also necessary to understand and acknowledge any positives so that the success can be built upon.

    • Psalms23

      I agree .. I have lived in bed going on 9 years. Not even able 2 go 2 the Dr or have a life . I have a neurological muscle disease that is worse than MS and will kill u .. I have . Cervical neuritis , cervical spondylitis ,detearating in low back , brain stem , severe nerve damage all over m body , osteoporosis , osteopenia , RA, Chroinc fatigue immune dysfunction , Chronic myofacial pain with over 200 trigger points, a Chronic EBV/Mono , lesions on my brain , enlarged heart due 2 my disease. IBS. My pain is so severe I can’t live without my meds . I live 24/7 7 days a week for 11years now and still suffer in pain with my meds.. These druggies r the reason we can’t get help and for some reason they always seem to have meds . It makes me sick . They do need 2 feel like we do that suffer with deadly illness , severe pain so bad that u can’t get out of bed or take a shower for months or cook or do anything . It’s wrong how we r treated WRONG WRONG WRONG.. What r we supposed 2 due . This is scaring me 2 death .. I’m disabled and on SSI and only draw $721 a month and these phamacys were I live will not even run my medacaid card there making me pay cash .. Plus ones I’ve been 2 my whole life r refusing to fill my meds because they say I havnt got it there in a few months .. And guess what Texas , Oh, Ky Tenn r running it for ppl in my state that r in severe pain . There’s no reason for us to suffer due 2 the drug addicts .. And pharmacys that won’t fill our meds . I agree with everyone that is suffering as well as I . And I really hate what u all r going through also . It’s a nightmare for us . These druggies can get help I’d they would but won’t . But ppl lik us that r truly in severe pain don’t have that opinion as if we have any anyways . People erything is being taken from us and it’s not fare ..

    • veronica

      Yes I agree 100%. I am also a CPP. 5 laporotimes and implanted abdominal mesh. In operable and left to suffer. On opiod therapy. Not enough to completly control. Many x’s the pain is so unbearable in between scheduled pills. To the medical profession don’t forget the oath. I pay good $ for my premiums. Walgreen’s pharmacist your are that and not a Dr. Keep your opinion out of our medical file. Do u have a solution? Then shut up, fill up and see u next month.

  • kim

    Thank God someone is finally listening to us !I have RA in both hips and knees and have been a pain patient for 5 years. I used Walgreens exclusively the first 3 1/2 .For the last 18 months i have repeatedly gone to Walgreens with my records in hand and have been refused. The reason has been “We dont have this medication ” or “I dont feel comfortable filling this “. Not one time has a Walgreens pharmacist even offered to verify my prescription !!I am simply told to go away ! As a result I am sitting here a 55 year old tax paying property owner and registered voter in Florida , GOING THROUGH SEVERE WITHDRAWAL for the 3rd time this year. I am in agony .My blood pressure is through the roof ! I have a legal valid prescription i need to fill and have spent several days trying .This is just plain wrong ! Please somebody do something !!!

    • my2centsifitmatters

      Sweetie!, PLEASE! go to a different pharmacy for your medication if those a**holes @ Walgreen’s wont fill it. (obviously, i’ve had problems with them as well. I just wasn’t GOOD enough to fill there) ANYWAY, I hate to see you die due to a massive stroke at your young age! (Which quite possible! if you don’t get your RX from your Doctor.) The Walgreen’s company “IS” the DEA, owned and RUN by the DEA .. So, just go to a nice mom and pop store, OR better yet~! Go to a CVS or RITE AID. LISTEN FOLKS…If the cost is what is bothering you , then HONESTLY, pull out your ‘Triple A card’ , and present it to them. My script went from 185.00 for 60 pills to $27.50!! easy peezy

      • kkk

        CVS IS NO BETTER I JUST WENT TO GET A SCRIPT AND TOLD DEA STOPPED AND LIMITED THEIR STORE……………………………. SO ASK TO CALL A DIFFERENT CVS TO FILL IT PLEASE… SAME COMPANY AND INRETURN I GOT A UNPERFESSIONAL WORKER AND (I SAY IDIOT) THAT BELITTLE ME (AND ALSO GOT DO NOT COME BACK TO FEEL MY SCRIPT EVERY CAUSE IT WON’T BE FILLED HE SAID)…..WHICH I REPORTED TO THE COMPAMY I DO HAVE TO SAY THE HIGHER MANAGEMENT DID NOT LIKE NOW WHAT TO YOU THINK OF THAT ONE….AND I HAVE BEEN GOING THERE SINCE 2008

    • Eve Dallas

      My heart goes out to you. Chronic pain is grueling, physically and emotionally. I have never used Walgreen’s because they are suspect of nearly anyone who comes in with a pain script. Actually, I refuse to shop at a Walgreens for anything. Soon as they show me their medical license, display a thorough knowledge of my particular condition, then maybe I would give them my business/money. Until then, my caretaker will drive 30 miles out of my way to find a pharmacy, if necessary. You should try and find a lawyer/advocate who specializes in health, disability, many of whom will often work on a sliding scale or work pro bono. There isn’t a pharmacist out there who does not know it can be dangerous to suddenly stop taking an opioid painkiller. First-year medical students know that. So I would suggest finding a lawyer willing to file suit for medical negligence or malpractice, or whatever suit he/she can file. I would also suggest contacting your local newspaper, your local TV outlets, and tell them your story. Make a video and upload it to YouTube.

    • dontcare4uatall

      THANK ME! EMO OBAMA!

  • Arenda

    Why not have the physicians see the actual patients at the local Walgreens store? Then they can verify with themselves! I will not use a Walgreens or CVS drug store myself. I have RA and been on pain meds for past 6 ys and go to my local Publix pharmacy where they know me and have never had a problem. Guess I am one of the fortunate ones. I have a great relationship with the pharmacy mgr and she has been professional and friendly through the years, and for that I thank her!

  • Karin Aubrey

    I have a form of osteoarthritis that causes bone spurs all over my body. My neck has deteriorated to the point that I can HEAR my bones grinding together when I turn my head. There is no way I can even function without these meds. I get up in the morning early because I am in pain. I take my long acting pain medicine that is supposed to last 12 hours, but obviously does not because I am up early, LESS than 12 hours since my last dose. I take a Goody’s powder to get rid of SOME of the stiffness. If I am still hurting in an hour, I take an immediate release medicine to bring my pain down to a level that I can tolerate. So, within about an hour of getting out of bed I have taken three medicines that are supposed to relieve pain. Some days I am in so much pain ALL day that I am unable to do much of anything physical. Some WEEKS I have flares from fibromyalgia and I am unable to go without taking the immediate release medicine through out the day. On those days, my pain level is too high to be able to even walk down my stairs to check the mail. Try to imagine being in a roll over accident where you are thrown around and bruised all over. That’s what my body feels like. One GIANT bruise! Now, without the pain medicine, I would feel like that every single day with no relief. Does my medicine help? Yes! Absolutely! Do I get high? NO! Absolutely NOT! Could I be functional without these meds? NO WAY! My pain management doctor and I spent 7 months trying all the other non-narcotic meds out there to get me some relief. None of them worked. All I can do is hope that they will come up with something that my body will respond to, other than the pain meds I am now taking.

  • Alan

    more nonsense from these “big chain” pharmacy companies – Executives keep trying to interfere with pharmacist judgement in putting more policy rules on the pharmacists. This does nothing buy delay therapy and add a tremendous amount of “busy” work to an already unrealistic workload. What do you expect from the company who invented the biggest joke in health care – the pharmacy drive-thru?

  • John R.Ph.

    there is a crackdown on controlled substances and this crackdown is coming on the supply side. The DEA is targeting pharmacies that are dispensing large amounts of controlled substances. Pharmacists are being asked to be the police again. We are getting from our suppliers and from the DEA on the dispensing end. Maybe the user is the problem.

    • Strangelove

      There is a difference between users and patients. Why should patients have to pay for the actions of addicts?

  • Kenny

    Why would the DEA punish Walgreens with an $80 million lawsuit when they give these physicians the prescribing authority with DEA #s? Aren’t there 4 parties to blame? DEA, Physician, Pharmacy and Patient?

  • Community Pharmacy

    Physicians and Pharmacists MUST be on the same team in order to improve the quality of care in America. Historically this has not been the case, but it is definitely the future. This is a good thing.

    A big part of the problem, from what I’ve read in these comments, boils down to two things: 1) using a chain pharmacy (walgreens / rite aid / cvs etc), where the corporate structure dictates what pharmacists are able to dispense, and 2) terrible customer service from these chain personnel who assume all RXs for Schedule 2-5 med categories are fraudulent or fraudulently obtained / prescribed.

    The DEA has forced the pharmacist into this role. I just got back from a conference put on by the State Board of Pharmacy and the DEA. The DEA has labeled pharmacists as “The Last Line of Defense.” It was hammered into us that the DEA is expecting pharmacists to follow safe dosage guidelines when dispensing medications, with the requirement of showing documentation this was followed when audited. This documentation includes having a valid ICD-9 code on the hard copy (actual prescription).

    To Pain NP – I find it a sad state of affairs when a pharmacist is unable to get an ICD-9 code for diagnosis from an NP / office staff for our documentation. This should take a minimal amount of time, and really, wouldn’t it be a simple addition to the RX writing process? We are in the middle of a significant change to healthcare practices in the US, resistance is a waste of energy. I don’t mean to call you out, and I can certainly understand your frustration w/ fielding multiple calls day in and day out. We only call on Sched II, and we also sent a letter out to providers in our area in advance on this policy change. Ultimately though, the patient is the bottom line. All of us are attempting to do the same thing: help the patient.

    I would strongly recommend patients try Independent pharmacies. Oftentimes, Indy’s are more streamlined and able to adapt rapidly, and are empowered to make their own judgment, using extensive pharmaceutical knowledge as to whether a prescription is warranted / correctly written. Spoiler Alert: 99% of the time it is. The vast majority of our refusals to dispense have been to severe contraindications, typically respiratory in nature.

    There is NO excuse for the majority of complaints I’ve read on this article’s comments. The best way to show your dissatisfaction w/ the pharmacy is to go elsewhere. Build a relationship w/ your local pharmacy. I think you’ll find it pays to have the pharmacy as your advocate. That is what we do, and I would expect nothing less from any pharmacy.

    Re: HIPPA, everyone in healthcare is required to be HIPAA Certified and compliant. This is what allows the movement of a patient’s health information to be shared between providers. Pharmacies are part of that equation.

    Good luck to everyone, this is going to be a very tumultuous time period in healthcare. But I think it will get better.

    • Ben

      My Dr. only works part time and travels for a significant portion of the month and doesn’t have any static office staff. So any Dr consult is basically saying that I won’t get my prescription for about a week or so. And then if there has to be an actual discussion with pharmacy staff it can take another week or so. All because the pharmacist is either choosing to put himself in the position, or being forced into the position, of second guessing my primary.

      Honestly, I don’t see that pharmacists add any significant value to the drug dispensing marketplace. Or rather, they don’t add any value that WebMD, google, and a good reference guide on drug interactions couldn’t provide a relatively educated adult. And this is true in the vast majority of all prescribed medication. If there’s a problem with prescribing physicians then fix the problem there. A solution to a problem is rarely found by adding an additional layer of complexity.

  • Rain

    Ok people .. Walgreens is not the only pharmacy doing this CVS and others and doing the same thing. As a person with AIDS and chronic pain , I was forced to use Hosipice and end my life so short .

  • Lynn Crisci

    This is an unacceptable invasion of patient privacy. I am a chronic pain patient, and only my doctors need to know why I need my prescriptions.

  • Daniel Minchew

    Problem is some of us really need med’s.I do understand the crusade to stop opioid’s from reaching the street,but come on please don’t interagate all of us…

  • Tammi Baumgartner

    The DEA wants to brag about prescription deaths now lower since their “crackdown” on prescription (opiods) drugs….but want to gloss over the heroin overdose increase by (from reports I read) 300%-500%! Legitimate Pain Patients are being denied their doctor prescribed medications or their prescribing doctor doesn’t want to spend the extra time jumping thru federal hoops or is afraid of risking their license due to the DEA’s paranoid witch hunt. They have no one to turn to and have been pushed to the brink with their pain and either wind up turning to heroin because it’s cheap and looking like the addict they have been pre-judged to be or commit suicide from the overwhelming pain and lack of compassion. Unforetunately, those numbers will continue to rise even more as they make it harder and harder on the patient to get the care and relief they need. Don’t be fooled by their statistics…look at them ALL! It is an EPIC FAIL!

    • thejoggingyenta

      read my post. Our own Government is importing heroin from Afghanistan at ridiculous amounts. No, you’ll never hear about this on any Lame Stream Media outlet. If you dig, you’ll find all the info you need. Crack down on narcotic pain pills….get the people to seek out heroin… it’s sickening. We don’t go into any country for the reasons we are told. it’s all about stealing resources like oil and heroin (water is the next frontier). Read ‘Confessions of an economic hit-man’…. how we have taken over many countries just to steal their resources. They blame the heroin on ‘Mexico’ but many times the heroin you see on TV is brown….that’s Afghanistan Heroin, not Mexican.

  • sueder

    I have been without my pain medication for over a week, after having just reached a reasonable level of pain control. My prescription is a small dose, 1 month supply which had only been filled as needed-every three months. Does not sound like a drug addict does it? I have been driving around to multiple pharmacies and have been treated like dirt, while no one told my why they won’t fill my prescription. I have RA and multiple other painful auto immune conditions. I feel violated and humiliated and my pain is back to square one. My confidentially has been judged to be non existent. I am pursuing legal action for violation of multiple medical ethics codes and hope that everyone else does the same. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me get out of bed now.

    • Dani

      I always went to walgreens last night They told me they had the meds, would fill it. Then the next day their internal reports were done they called my dr and my dr told them I haven’t been to physical therapy because of how bad my pain is and they banned me from every walgreens for any oxycodone prescription. I drove to 5 other pharmacies before finding one that had my medication. This is unreal!

  • bummed

    We have been using Walgreens for many years, but in April they refused to fill our prescriptions forcing us to drive to over a dozen pharmacies only to hear refusals across the board, including from other national pharmacies, because the “dose and quantity were too high.” The pharmacists stated it was their right to deny a prescription and would not contact our doctor for verification. This is a severe problem.

  • loves_country

    BS

  • dayle

    I am a chronic! pain patient. When pharmacies treat me with disrespect I dont use them. It seems like if they think a doctor is guilty of over prescribing then watch him and build a case, however dont treat his paients like they are guilty of something. I thought in America we were innocent until found guilty! Walgreens if only watching THIER bottom line…to hell with the patients

  • Frustrated in Nebraska

    Those of us who have an unfortunate diagnosis and NEED pain meds have gone through so much already it is absurd to have to go though this at the pharmacist too!!!! Half the time doctors tell us to go home and suck it up. When we do get a Doc to listen we are treated like an addict. NOW WE ARE BEING TREATED THAT WAY AT THE PHARMISIST TOO???!!!!!
    I believe checking id would be adequate to cover their butts. They have no business putting their judgments on us….and that is exactly what it is…MORE JUDGMENT!!!
    I understand there is a need to have something changed, but not at the expense of those who need these. There are plenty of other ways to flush out the scum.

  • Linda Niemczyk

    So now, my doctor will be checked on by a pharmacist?? UNBELIEVABLE!!! And better yet, Walgreens can refuse to fill my script? Oh, and what happened to the HIPPA act?

    • Wylde1

      They should be. No such thing as HIPPA Act.

      It is HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability & Acountability Act. This policy does comply with current HIPAA requirements.

      • loves_country

        IT SHOULD NOT.

    • Damien Bartee

      I have pancreatic cancer – am literally dying and cannot get my pain medication filled at the Walgreens I had been using for years which is fine because they will never get another penny from me or anyone I know for any reason – not a bandaid, not a snickers bar.

      • Delynn Turner

        Bless you Damien, I am also a chronic pain person with 4 back surgeries in the past. just reading these comments give me pain, this is the worst.

  • Jeanette Sawyer

    My stae

  • Dayaneira

    I would like to now if that concerns Puerto Rico too?

  • Barbara Richardson

    I get it, however this doesn’t seem like a pharmacist place….the pharmacist isn’t allowed to prescribe meds so who are they to deny meds. If a prescription needs to be verified for validity GREAT!! If they suspect that a Doctor is wrongly dispensing Narcotic drugs then it seems that they should build that case against the Doctor and then put it into the Feds hands. Not humiliate and embarrass a patient that is likely in Pain there to pick up their medications. I was never treated so poorly after Breaking my Back in 5 places than when I had to stand and be interrogated by a pharmacy TECH before receiving my medication every month for 2 1/2yrs…the same pharmacy and the same prescription.
    Didn’t Walgreen alienate themselves enough with the whole General Motors thing…seems that the Powers that Be at Walgreens think Very Highly of themselves!!!!
    There is a lot of prescription medication abuse, but the constant abuse of REAL patients is alarming. Even our Government feel that it is better to let someone in Pain suffer than deal with the addicts and shady doctors. I guess they don’t remember the 70′s and early 80′s when every school was filled with bootlegged Qualudes and Valiums.
    We will soon be a country filled with illegally manufactured weapons and bootlegged narcotics….Because the junkies and gonna find a way to get high and the criminals are gonna continue to obtain things the illegal, lazy way. DUH!!

  • IBS

    I am a stage IV terminal cancer lung cancer patient. I had a terrible infection in my mouth and
    two teeth had to be pulled. The doctor gave my caregiver a prescription from my dentist for: Oxi …something. The Dentist didn’t write the date even though I showed
    him the bill. They wouldn’t even give me TWO pills to get through. Walgreens, after so many years, has lost me from their store. You harmed me. I received NO notice.
    You caused me MORE PAIN while the blood was dripping in my mouth. This was in
    your Milltown, NJ store which I went there when they first opened up.

    • RxTech

      “Oxy….anything” is a schedule II (CII) narcotic. there are LAWS that must be followed regardless of how much pain a person is in, if the MD doesn’t fill out the prescription properly pharmacies are NOT ALLOWED BY LAW, to write the date on the prescription, or change ANYTHING for that matter on a CII, it sucks, but it’s the LAW. Individual pharmacists can lose their license if they do, and/or have a huge fine. In this situation, Walgreens didn’t harm you, your doctor/dentist did!!

      • Guest

        “I was just doing my job.”

        • amsiepoo@aol.com

          That’s a very hypocritial statement, all jobs are created within compliance of many laws. We may not agree with these laws but we do have to follow them. Isn’t it too much to ask of health care providers to ignore these laws in consideration of each patients’ circumstance? We’re all trained to put our patient’s best interest first, but we can’t help anyone if we lose our licenses. Not to mention VERY FEW people will put their livelihood on the line for ANYONE so why should health care providers be expected to do so? Most of us carry student loans upward from $300,000.

        • MDusty Roades

          And the bodies burned.

    • Kenny

      That was nothing on the pharmacists end. The physician did not properly fill out your prescription. It is LAW to have a date on prescriptions. This would be your physicians fault. If you have a problem with the law, focus on the government creating the laws, NOT the pharmacists who are simply following the law. To give you 2 pills would have been ILLEGAL

  • CS

    Can anyone explain why my wife’s hydrocodone prescription at Walgreen’s recently jumped from about $125.00/month to more than $250.00?

    • fun bobby

      they start off cheap to get you hooked. then they raise up the price. that’s how pushers operate

    • Linda Niemczyk

      To pay of the 80 million they had to pay out

    • loves_country

      MANY MEDICATIONS HAVE DOUBLED OBOZO

    • Ken

      Do you have insurance? If you are paying out of pocket without insurance, I would call around. Otherwise, your insurance copay will be the same regardless of what pharmacy you fill at

  • the way it is

    Whiners, prescription drug abuse is now the leading cause of accidental cause of death in this country. This would not be the case if prescribers were diligent in ensuring proper treatment plans were being followed (physical therapy, nsaids, steroids, oxy as a last resort, etc). The DEA is now expecting pharmacies to clean up this mess as it has become a national health crisis.

    Pain NP, I’m sorry your computer system is outdated and diagnosis codes and imaging records are not readily available, but this information is necessary for pharmacists to determine if your office is one of the good ones or a place that will write for whatever junkies ask for. I’m sorry that your office writes for the new drug of choice but thats the world we live in. BTW, walgreens requires pharmacists to notify the dea every time we refuse to fill a prescription that is written outside the standard of care.

    • Barbara Richardson

      I walked into Walgreens to fill a prescription for my Dad who had just been released from the hospital with 37 staples in his thigh from a hedgetrimmer accident…handed them a prescription for both a Pain Medication and an Anti biotic, and I guess since I looked disheveled from leaving yard work and going to the ER for 26hrs I was denied his pain medications….I had proper ID and His Medical Power of Attorney papers in tow, not to mention Hospital release papers and a Stinking Picture on my Cell Phone of his Awful Wound. All this is doing is turning Pharmacy Techs into Control Hungry Power Junkies!!
      If they were suspect of something wrong then they shouldn’t have given me the Anti Biotics either. No problems are being solved with this policy, the only thing it is doing is keeping people that are suffering in pain and I feel horrible for the Chronic Patients who quality of life is at risk…

    • Falcon89

      Have you ever met an actual intractable pain patient?

      • Skye Queue

        many times sadly

    • Fibromyalga Patient

      “Whiners?”
      Spoken like someone without chronic pain and no compassion for others.

      • Strangelove

        Indeed. I’d wager that if The Way It Is suffered multiple dislocations and subluxations as I have done, then s/he would be whining the loudest.

    • rsdfeet

      It’s obvious to me that you have no knowledge of what diseases/diagnosis actually require opiate pain medicine and which ones are NOT helped by standard physical therapy, steroids, etc. My RSD/CRPS is incurable, progressive, and just happens to be rated higher on the McGill Pain Scale than the amputation of a digit or natural child birth.

      I use a small mom and pop pharmacy that actually took the time to learn about RSD/CRPS at my request. They are wonderful and have never givin me the run around about my pain medications. I consider myself very lucky to have found them and can not imagine the nightmare that people who suffer from diseases like mine must go through every month. I hope you never need pain medications for a disease like I have and get treated like a criminal when you’re not one.

      • Obaaaaaaaama sheep get sheared

        I hope he does need pain meds and cant get them.

      • Psalms23

        I agree my myalgic encephalomylitis is in-curable it is a progressive deadly disease worse than MS and certain cancers. My pain is worse than most cancers . I know what u r going through . And how I’m looked at like a drug addict .

    • Obaaaaaaaama sheep get sheared

      the way it is
      I wish for you a life of “CHRONIC PAIN”…YOU WILL beg for it to stop like most of us have even bad asses like you I have seen eat their words…I hope when you become a “whiner” no one will hear you..

    • Crystal

      not sure where you get your stats check again no that is not leading not cause even close. 90% of prescription pain pill deaths were due to use of illicit drugs or alcohol during treatment. That is why the doctors are responsible for testing patients now, get your facts straight. you may go to CDC or DEA sites to gather stats.

      • worldofidiots

        FDA gathers most stats. Acetaminophen and alcohol are the main contributors, which are the two legal ones ironically.

    • fcukwalgreens

      I just wanted to get high, guess i’ll just smoke some pot and wait till tomorrow for my oxy’s

    • worldofidiots

      Please stop spreading lies, FIRST : accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths, SECOND: the FDA lumps all of the prescription and non prescription deaths together, the MAJORITY are not from controlled substances, but from things like antidepressants, acetaminophen and blood pressure medication. Im guessing you are a pharmacist or kin to one, and want to be a doctor. Seen it before. My mother has small cell lung cancer and has to go through the hoops just to get her medicine. It is outrageous, and it is because of people like you. The good news is cancer effects just about everyone, so when you or your family member gets it, i hope you remember this crap, and i say crap lightly, that you are spewing out.

    • guest233

      Nsaids??!! My husband and I took nsaids for years for bad pain.(We didn’t want to get addicted ) Well my husband now suffers from renal failure. Would not have happened had he been prescribed a small amount of opiate. I now have serverly damaged small bowel thank to nsaids.

  • Curtis Triplett

    I was a victim of this policy in Boone NC, walgreens store even though im a customer of this store EVERYDAY< for other things besides meds, i was in severe withdrawal by the time(3-4 hours) on a saturday it took for the Pharmacist to fill my Rx, as he was VISITING from out of town, but hemmed and messed around for 3 hours and lied to me that he didnt have the meds on site, then called main office for permission to fill, then called some one else and broke my confidentiality, hippa , then finally the girl who works 3rd shife who knew me came in, at 9pm, and vouched for me, and then md finally called, he filled rx, it was awful!!!!!

    • Kenny

      and what if you had a fake prescription? His company could have fired him for not following policy and he could also be investigated by the DEA!

      • Damien Bartee

        Your a moron – the prescriptions are already in a national computer database listed by DEA number! The pharmacist calling to check the legitimacy of a prescription at all hours is impossible that is why it is done the way I just described. Thus the only way to “fake” a prescription is to guess a correct DEA number and print it out on a fake watermarked prescription that looks exactly like a real one?! You have much better chances of winning the lottery. Keep your mouth shut when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

      • Dani

        They told me they had the meds, would fill it. Then the next day their internal reports were done they called my dr and my dr told them I haven’t been to physical therapy because of how bad my pain is and they banned me from every walgreens for any oxycodone prescription. I drove to 5 other pharmacies before finding one that had my medication. This is unreal!

  • Pain NP

    I am an NP in a pain management center – I specialize in prescribing controlled substances. I think we started getting these calls from Walgreens in early April.
    There was no advanced warning notification sent out by Walgreens, and when we asked why they needed this information, we were told it was “a new law.” We got this call EVERY time any patient tried to fill a prescription for a controlled substance at any Walgreens. We refused to give them some of the information they were asking for (e.g. diagnosis codes and “a full treatment plan” – mostly because it would have taken WAY too much time to put together). I advised a lot of patients to change pharmacies. I spoke to pharmacists and told them that if they had concerns about a patient’s prescriptions, it was far more appropriate and preferable for them to call and talk to me (the prescriber) so that we could share information and concerns, and develop a plan together.

    There is already a way in Massachusetts to identify people who are using multiple prescribers and multiple pharmacies to obtain controlled substances, and it is far more effective than Walgreens pharmacists looking at their records on a particular person. So that is not an acceptable reason for this policy. I have never had any other pharmacy call me asking for diagnosis codes and treatment plans, so this is NOT pharmacists “doing what they have always done,” as said in a previous comment. And this is not about encouraging changing from short-acting to long-acting opioids (in a previous comment) – the calls come for ANY controlled substance, short- or long-acting.

    For many pain patients, transportation to and from a pharmacy is a major problem. Dropping off the prescription, then coming back later, is often NOT an option for them. And it is not a 15 minute wait when the pharmacist needs to call the prescriber’s office, wait for the nurse or assistant to talk to the prescriber, gather the required information, and get the time to call the pharmacist back. This policy DOES negatively impact the patient’s ability to obtain legitimate medication.

    It’s a bad policy and was poorly executed. It does not foster inclusion of the pharmacist in the health care team. Most of the Walgreens pharmacists I talked to about it agreed. The others seemed hell-bent on their personal crusades that no patient needs opioids ever (believe me, those pharmacists are out there).

    • loves_country

      release of information signed? it is illegal for physicians to share our medical information.

      • Tracy

        it’s not illegal to share medical information with the pharmacy that is filling your prescriptions, and is part of your health and well being.

        • Damien Bartee

          It is absurd that a pharmacist should second guess a Doctor’s treatment plan for their patient. How many hoops must someone with pancreatic cancer jump through to get pain relief? This is another outrageous breach of Doctor/ patient confidentiality and 180degree change from the way pain management is treated anywhere else in the world. A pharmacists job is to fill the prescription and mention any possible side effects, not to second guess the physician and arbitrarily make people suffer because you don’t like what is written on their prescription pad!

  • Oregon Pharmer

    The perspective of this article seems to be completely ignoring that fact that pharmacists are part of a healthcare team. Even retail chain pharmacist are now required to graduate doctoral programs in order to practice and have vast knowledge of medications. The Good Faith Dispensing policy is simply asking pharmacists to document the normal course of action that most prudent pharmacists have been following for years. In many cases physicians are completely unaware that the patients that they know to be honest and responsible are actually obtaining multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors. Additionally, some patients who are using very large quantities of short acting opioids often have much more success with their pain therapy when it is changed to a longer acting formulation.

    The particular quote from the article that I found most ridiculous is …“this is very harmful for people with pain who are simply trying to get their medications so they can have some quality of life.” The delay in processing opioid prescriptions is a change from 15 minutes to 1 hour. My solution to this is to have patients drop of their scripts at the start of their day and come back later. If it is done monthly and the day before they run out- there is never a time when they don’t have medicine.

    The general public needs to realize that just because a pharmacy is located in a grocery store or has a drive-thru does not make it a fast food restaurant. Your pharmacist is not out to get you or make you look like a drug addict or make you be in pain. We care about you and your health and safety, and sometimes that requires us giving your prescription and medication history extra attention and time.

    • Sara

      If you were truly a pharmacist, you would know from seeing multiple disabled persons, that it can be extremely difficult to impossible to get out a second time in one day! I have to plan for every outing by taking two days of doing barely any activity to ensure I do not have a bad flair day. Even with planning and use of my pain medications I am in severe pain by the end of most outings. I am disabled, and it takes help for me to get out to the doctors, there is no way after a doctors visit that I could sit and wait around for an hour. By the end of my visits I am in need of home, rest and my medications.

    • Falcon89

      Many doctors do not let you fill controlled drugs before you are about to run out. Also, going to the pharmacy twice for one prescription isn’t easy for those who need them most.

      Also, this is beyond confirming suspicious or dangerous prescriptions.

    • Strangelove

      “The delay has changed from 15 minutes to one hour.” No, it has not. In my case I was told that the delay would be five days or more!
      And my pharmacists are not a coordinated part of my healthcare team–they don’t even know what my condition is.
      Bug off and go back to your PR firm.

    • thejoggingyenta

      The problem is that Walgreens ‘decides’ when that 30 days happens… they don’t count the day you pick the medicine up, which I am about to call and ‘discuss’ with my pharmacist. They want me to pick my Norco up on day 31, if they don’t count the day I picked it up…in the morning…and took the days dose. So now I would be OUT of meds on day 31. Why is there NO leeway, say a day or 2??? We live in the mountains and have to drive many miles to get to the pharmacy, who MAY even be out of my meds when I get there! You can no longer call a pharmacy to see if they have enough in stock, for fear you are going to then come in and rob them at gunpoint, so you have to DRIVE all over 2 states to find someone that has them. And when you DARE question the pharmacist, you immediately think that THEY think you’re a drug addict. Total BS and I’m tired of taking the fall for all the junkies around here.

  • Freddie

    I wish that Walgreens would just come out and say what is obvious. All of us might have more respect for the company if they said, we made an 80 million dollar mistake down in Florida and this is a reaction to that mistake. Florida is also where the company has the most stores in the country, over 700 of them so I can only imagine the scope of the number of fake prescriptions and pills that were dispensed. 80 million dollars is a few drops in the over 6 billion the company did in sales in June alone. Once again the illegal use/mistakes of a relative few make the rest of us have to be inconvenienced. That’s life in American these days.

  • legaldealer

    We have had this policy for more than 3 months and I have actually made 2 phone calls to prescribers and refused 3 prescriptions. The total ‘delay’ per prescription has been less than 20 minutes. Yes, we reserve the right to contact prescribers, but that does not mean that we will. This ‘new’ policy is more paper work for pharmacists, but we are still doing our job as defenders of medications, as we have always done. The honest patients who need medication are getting their medications, those who are refused, are being refused for just cause.

    • boston d

      What just cause? I was denied last week and I have no criminal record use my meds as prescribed and I dont even get the maximum amount allowed. I asked why I was denied and was told of the new policy. I asked politely what requirments did I not meet and was told to call 1800walgreens to find out why. I called and was told they didnt know and to ask the pharmacist. If u ask me it was very unprofessional to tell me to call knowing she knew the answer and the 800number couldn’t help. Im still trying to figure out why i was denied

    • Carol Levy

      I would like to know what constitutes “just cause”? And how have you decided who is an “honest” patient and who is not?
      And ad a chronic pain patient I find your screen name legaldealer offensive. It belittles the need for these medications that allow many in chronic pain to live a decent life, enabling some to be able to at least get out of bed in the morning.

    • Strangelove

      Ha! I could not get my pain prescription filled at Walgreens unless I wanted to wait *five business days* for the rx to be in stock…and even then, they said they couldn’t guarantee that they would fill it. So tell me more about 20-minute delays. Thanks to people like you, I’m now getting better acquainted with my local mom-and-pop pharmacies.
      And I agree, the name “legaldealer” is really awful.

    • Fern F.

      No, we are not. There are days that I can barely stand long enough to make a sandwich, and now I have to go begging for my medicine and driving to three different stores (same chain) to see if one of them has a pharmacist working that day who will recognize me and accept the Rx on a Friday at 6 pm, when the others insist on making me wait until Monday so they can confirm with my pain doc. that this medicine I’ve refilled every 30 days for years is somehow wrong this time.

  • legaldealer

    Re: Cabanator – pseudoephedrine is not apparently used to synthesize methamphetamine, it is the main ingredient in its synthesis

  • Hugh J

    They’re preparing for the future in the world of the ACA where you will not have a doctor per se. You’ll be seeing an NP in a clinic in a strip mall next to the 99 cent store.

    • Jamie L Hartman

      AHA has nothing to do with it you dimwit, fact the truth has been coming out !!!! AHA IS WORKING. THIS ISSUE has nothing to do with the gov. people are see AHA IS WORKING there beginning to see past the loud mouths in congress and you repukes heads
      have been exploding at the seams. 2014 you greedy hateful people are going down the PEOPLE have had enough of you sniveling and LIES

      • Hugh J

        Wow…hope no one makes you wait for your meds…LOL!

      • Obaaaaaaaama sheep get sheared

        Its ACA not AHA and if you have read or seen the news its a FAIL.

  • Cabanator

    While I can certainly understand the importance of making it harder for opioid addicts to get access to these drugs (my own cousin died a few years ago from oxycontin), it is also extremely frustrating as a patient when more and more obstacles make it increasingly difficult to get a legitimate prescription. For example, ever since pseudophedrine products were moved behind the counter (because apparently they can be used to make meth), I have had an extremely difficult time getting the AllegraD I need to control my chronic allergy congestion. If you try to buy it on your own, the most pills you can get at once of the generic brand is 10. Since I have to take it every day, this means I have to go to the pharmacy almost once a week, instead of being able to get at least a one-month supply. I’ve tried to get my doctor to write me a prescription for it so that I can get a month’s supply, but even that has proven complicated with several calls back and forth between the doctor’s office and pharmacy to try and get this approved. You’d think it would be a heck of a lot simpler to just get a one-month supply of an allergy medication! This new Walgreen’s policy means that lots of people will have to wait, probably for several days, while their pharmacist plays phone tag with their doctor’s office. What a hassle for those of us who are just trying to fill a legitimate prescription for a medication we need!

    • RxRealist

      The new Walgreens policy has nothing to do with Sudafed and most likely more to do with your insurance not approving the medication. It’s only for controlled pain medications that are being abused. If your pharmacist is playing phone tag, you should be appreciative of the fact they are making the effort to do what’s necessary to dispense your medication. Instead you complain about something that has nothing to do with “the pharmacist” and most likely to do with YOUR insurance preferring that YOU come every week to buy it yourself. Thus, your true issue being with coverage not you pharmacy.
      Most times physicians send there patients to the pharmacy with a prescription knowing there’s a potential coverage issue. They know that once the patient leave dodging you and your insurance issues is much easier.
      It’s a “hassle” for all involved.

      • Rain

        It has nothing to do with anyone Insurance …

  • fun bobby

    more stupid crap from the war on drugs. lets end this quagmire

    • CS

      The DEA has to justify their continued existence and increased budget.

      • fun bobby

        yup and the private prison/ industrial / legal complex loves it too

  • Slobbington von Slob

    So the people that actually deserve pain meds will get them and drug seekers will probably be caught more often. Win win. Good work Walgreens.