My Story: Humiliated by a Pharmacist

The day started pretty much like any other. Woke up with pain. Took a pill. Pain eased to a tolerable level.

That is what my life is like. Since I was in my teens I have suffered from muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease and other auto immune related disorders.

I had a doctor’s appointment that morning to get a refill for my prescription for oxycodone. Every month I make an appointment, every month I see the doctor, and every month I go to the pharmacy. Those are the rules in Florida.

Colleen Sullivan

Colleen Sullivan

I was a little nervous when I got to the doctor’s office. I had been seeing him for 5 months. I really wanted to ask if I could stop coming in every month, paying $95 just to see him for 5 minutes. You have to understand, because of my conditions, everything is a struggle.

Reluctantly, he agreed to give me the next month’s prescription so I could skip a month.

This is something I have learned to deal with. You get used to the looks people give you and you know they are thinking you are some kind of drug addict. You get used to the hushed whispers the pharmacists share when you hand them the paper. You even get used to the way friends don’t understand you can’t do the things you used to.

But one thing I can’t get used to is the humiliation.

When I left the doctor’s office, I went to the Publix supermarket — just like I had for the previous 5 months – to get my prescription filled. The counter girl asked the pharmacist, Debbie, if they have enough to fill the script.

Right away Debbie flashed me that look of disdain. The “you are such a junkie” look.

After a minute, she comes back and tells me that I am early. She claims I am 20 days early, which is just crazy. I am there every month and she knows me. In fact, she has been rude to me before. But, being on narcotic pain meds, sometimes you just have to put up with that kind of thing.

She then informs me that she cannot fill the prescription. I tell her there must be some mistake on the doctor’s end. Perhaps he wrote it wrong? She says it doesn’t matter, she won’t fill it.

This made me slightly angry. That she treated me like a drug addict trying to abuse the system. But I didn’t want to let it upset me because my disease is triggered by stress, so I try not to let things get to me too much. I said okay, I will go somewhere else, and left.

I drove down the road to a CVS pharmacy. I go in and hand him the script. He looks at me straight in the face and tells me they don’t have any. They don’t have any? A pharmacy doesn’t have oxycodone? Not some grocery store pharmacy, a real pharmacy?

As my fiancée and I are walking out, I jokingly said wouldn’t it be crazy if Debbie had called CVS?

We drove about 10 miles down the road to a Walgreens. I go in, hand them the script, and they say no problem, come back at 2 o’clock. As I am walking out, they call my name over the loud speaker. I walk up to the head pharmacist and ask what’s wrong.

He says to me VERY LOUDLY and in front of about 15 people, “I can’t fill this for you. Debbie from Publix called me and said that you are early.”

I was sooooo angry at that point! I said she is mistaken. Call my doctor and ask him! She is just a pharmacist! My doctor wrote this today! He’s a DOCTOR!!

I was getting upset and embarrassed. All the people standing in line were staring at me. The pharmacist continued to yell at me very loudly, saying he wouldn’t do it because I was trying to fill early.

Then I finally just broke. I cried. Cried for the embarrassment. Cried for the way they were so rude. Cried because they treated me like some kind of addict. Cried because of the pain I have to deal with every day for the rest of my life. Cried because my reputation in this town I had just moved to was completely ruined.

I just couldn’t believe this woman, Debbie, would go that far to mess with me. That she would call all the pharmacies in town for who knows what reason. I knew she didn’t like me, but that was going too far. I went back to my doctor’s office. I told him what happened. And I was crying. Uncontrollable crying.

He looked at the script and realized he had made a mistake. Instead of putting take 1 to 2 pills every 4 hours, he had put take 1 pill every 4 hours. He wrote out a new script.

I went back to Publix. I was furious at this point and still crying. I couldn’t believe Debbie did all that to me. Isn’t it bad enough that when I was only 17, I got this horrible disease that I have put up with for over 10 years, and I will have for the rest of my life? Isn’t it bad enough that I wake up every day just praying that I can have one moment without pain?

This whole thing could have been avoided if she simply treated me like a human being that is sick and needs medicine. Not a drug addict. She could have just called my doctor and he would have straightened it out. She could have worked with me to figure it out. No, instead she decided to call everyone in this small town and let them all know about me.

That day, about a year ago, I eventually got the prescription I needed, after hours and hours of driving around. Unfortunately, because of that whole situation, my health took a major nose dive and the doctor I was seeing kicked me out of his practice.

For the next 2 months I got sicker and sicker because of all the stress. I had to go to specialist after specialist to find someone, anyone, who would help me. I saw doctor after doctor that just refused to help me out with anything other than the name of another doctor.

Finally, about 4 months ago I found a pain specialist in Miami that agreed to help me with my medications. And the pharmacists at Walgreens are being much more understanding these days. I think they realize I live here and I am a part of this community, whether they like it or not.

I wanted to share this because I know that feeling you get, pulling up to Walgreens or CVS. I know the hot flush that creeps across your face as you walk through the store. I know the feeling that your heart is going to burst from your chest when you hand them the script. And then I also know that feeling of being humiliated when the pharmacist makes sure to announce that your PAIN MEDS are EARLY in a loud voice — but then whispers but only by one day so it’s okay.

I do not want sick people to have to face this every single month. It’s literally torture. It just breaks my heart to think other sick people are out there are being mistreated on top of having this condition no one can even understand.

12_7.jpgColleen Sullivan lives in Florida. In April, Colleen’s father wrote a column for National Pain Report on how difficult it was to obtain pain medications for Colleen in Florida. The Sullivans have created a Facebook group called Patients United for DEA Reform.

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

Send them to editor@nationalpainreport.com

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

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111 Responses

  1. Dmenace says:

    Just terrible,
    Power tripping pharmacist playing CSI fo sheezy…..
    It’s very unfair to blame the patient ! Shame on that Pharmacy !
    I feel you, hang in there, you’re not alone……
    Love,
    Dennis

  2. Lorraine says:

    Nancy:

    I totally get your desire to be more private about some of the drugs you have to take. However, the point is that this pharmacist should have been fired for HIPPA violations for just for being an idiot in general. That pharmacist simply needed to call the doctor to confirm the prescription. The exact thing she would have done it she was trying to confirm an RX for anything but pain meds. That’s the real problem. I wonder if anyone filed a complaint with the corporate office of Publix or even the store manager? If it were me I’d have gone to local media and spread it all over the local news. Then Publix would have taken notice and something would have been done for sure. In fact if Colleen would like help in doing so I’d be glad to pitch in. I can’t help but this this is just plain illegal. Colleen, if you are still looking at this chain of posts, please contact me and I will do everything I can to help you find a way to file a lawsuit.
    Lorraine Calvert

  3. Nancy says:

    The problem with that is most of us our insurance tells us what pharmacy we have to go too or we have to pay almost twice as much. My town has no small pharmacies anymore. CVS bought them all out. I am going to try mail order as it is cheaper for me and the few people I know that use it are very happy with it. When I was taking care of my father I used Kaiser’s mail order and it was so helpful for me since I was sick too. They would send three months at a time. Call HIPPA and the CEO of the pharmacy. That might cause some change,

  4. Zac says:

    There is a lot of problems with this post. For one, the pharmacist took it on herself to call all the other pharmacies in the area which clearly violates HIPPA and Federal laws. What information did they share with each other, “Names, Birth Dates, Addresses, Telephone Numbers, or Social Security Numbers?” The pharmacist should be fired for doing this. Where is the privacy act at in this case. The patients’ reputation has been ruined by this type of act and everybody thinks it’s ok.

    Walgreen’s and CVS are made by the people and not by themselves. Everybody needs to understand this! We the people can make or break any company in the world if we chose to. I would suggest finding a little pharmacy or cutting down your medications to where there is not problem filling it at a small phamacy. Contact the Board of Pharmacy or Hippa when they violate your privacy and share your information with others against your will.

    Stand up and fight for your rights…

  5. /\G says:

    This story is heart-wrenching, I can practically hear the author crying as I read it. Although, I will admit I don’t know what really happened and as the reader I only know one side of it and that is Colleens. Colleen, if everything you are stating is 100% fact, I feel terrible for you and you did have you HIPAA rights violated. Additionally, if this happened to me I would be extremely embarrassed and likely too traumatized to fill any prescriptions again, which unfortunately is not possible in your situation.

    One thing I don’t understand is why the original pharmacy would not fill your prescription? You can find out why, you do have access to information in your Pharmacy Drug Profile. Many people get them when doing their taxes. Anyway, you said you were getting oxycodone filled for a month supply at the same pharmacy for the 5 past months. A 30 day supply with the directions to take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours. The pharmacy, when entering the prescription into the computer system will need to assume that you are taking the maximum possible tablets around the clock to calculate the shortest possible day supply, unless noted by the doctor to not exceed more than some # of tablets in 24hrs. So if you have been consistently seeing the doctor every 30 days and filling the prescription every 30 days there really should have been no problem. I understand you said your doctor made a mistake by writing the prescription for 1 tablet every 4 hours. Doing this would not cause the prescription to come up as too soon to be filled. Now mind you the following month you might be too early if you continue to take 2 tablets every 4 hours when that prescription was written 1 tablet every 4 hours. The pharmacy keeps record of each prescription that is filled and how many days it should last the patient. As long as you are remaining compliant to your dosing regimen there is no reason for it to come up early unless there was some other mistake from the previous month(s). The pharmacy will have some flexibility to come in a few days early so you do not need to wait until you are completely out of medication. Although with controlled substances there is what is refereed to as the “7 day rule” which states: No prescription shall be filled until the ultimate user has exhausted all but a 7 day supply of ANY previously dispensed supply. This applies to ALL refills of that drug. So if a patient refills 1 day early for seven months and 1 day early on 8th month it will be too soon. As long as you have been compliant to the regimen and you are not loosing any medication somehow there really is no reason from what you stated for you to be out of medication and still have the prescription too soon to be filled?

    Again, I do not have access to all the facts from what happened that day and I am trying to remain as unbiased as possible. If you would like to share more information I would love to try and help figure out how this happened. What I said above only emphasizes the importance of having open communication between the doctor, pharmacist and most importantly YOU! If you and the pharmacy could have known sooner an issue was arising this situation might have never happened!!!

    Try hang in there Colleen, keep your head up and stay positive!! There are so many people on here who support you!

  6. ES says:

    I’ve used Walgreens for over 20 years, and have been humiliated by them more than anyone – same issues as all of you. But – a Walgreens rep told me they were being used as a control model pharmacy because of getting into some narcotic trouble last year. That said…

    WHY is it the fault/responsibility/job of a pharmacist to decide whether the customer is a ‘druggie’ or a valid pain patient – if they bring in a valid script??
    I’d think if they go to the trouble of calling the MD (if they feel the need) and validating the script, that any problems would fall back on the MD, not the pharmacy.
    ??

  7. Nancy says:

    Having worked at a hospital for 25 years, I know personally how many times the pharmacist and the pharmacy tech intervened on a medication before it got to the patient and caused potential harm up to and including death, I tracked these events as ” near misses”. If you really want to know the side effects of a medicine and the potential harm talk to your pharmacist, get to know them and let them understand what is your disability as for me it has helped them guide me to the right medicines and prevent me from taking a medicine that count contradict one of my other medicines. That is why it is so important to only go to one pharmacy so they can get to know you. My pharmacy will bend its back to help me get auth for a new medicine and make sure my medicines are ordered and available for me. I always get them a Starbucks card at Christmas because they have really saved the day for me. I did have problems with one pharmacy so I changed and like I said I privately talked to the staff about my medicine needs and they have been wonderful to me. So I would try another pharmacy if you are not happy. We should be treated with respect and dignity and so should the staff that helps you. I know their have been a lot of changes because of the Florida incident and the DEA and I feel bad for the patient and the pharmacy for what they have to deal with. Let’s hope it doesn’t get worse with Obama care.

  8. Lorraine says:

    Dear Katie:

    Once again a pharmacist who has totally missed the point. It was the WAY SHE WAS TREATED that is the point on the story. Not who was at fault. If that would have been an Rx for Lipitor the pharmacist would simply have called the doctor instead of embarrassing the patient and spreading word around town not to fill the prescription. I live in a big city so this whole thing is just sick to me. How small people act in order to feel important (ie: pharmacist in the story) is sickening.

    Lorraine

  9. Katie says:

    While I don’t normally comment on blog posts, the ignorance that I have seen flowing through this comment thread is unbearable. Yes, the situation is unfortunate, and I sincerely apologize to Colleen for what happened to her. What I can’t handle, are people like Mary and Cathy claiming that pharmacists have no right to question doctors. The DOCTOR of Pharmacy degree today is just as lengthy as a traditional MD degree, making pharmacists more than capable of understanding what is going on with your medical condition.

    As a pharmacy student and technician at “some grocery store” pharmacy, I can’t count how many times we’ve received prescriptions from doctors that are completely inappropriate for a patient’s condition, even prescribing medications that a patient is allergic to! If you think your doctor is infallible, you have bigger issues to work out. Almost all doctors I have met have been brilliant people, but they are still human. You should be glad that the pharmacist is there verifying your conditions, or you never know what could happen.

  10. Mary says:

    @SJ I think your arrogance fits the bill of a pharmacist.
    It is not the REAL patients problem that you have scammers – drug abusers – coming in to your pharmacist with phony scripts. I’d have to imagine that you have more real prescriptions enter your pharmacy than phony, yet, you choose to treat everyone filling a controlled substance like a druggie. When has the demands of your job become the customers problem? Yu chose your career path.. We didn’t. I don’t want to suffer for your problems with criminals.
    Your comment is the most ridiculous argument for pharmacist I’ve ever read if I do say so myself.. There are shoplifters in every department store. Do you want to be followed around by security when you go shopping? I didn’t think so. Is that ignorant? No.. however, it is ignorant for you to suggest the customers carry the burden for the demands your job places on you.
    I honestly can’t believe you suggest we tell the pharmacist our medical condition. lol What kind of nonsense is that? If you needed to know someones medical condition to follow the Doctors orders, the Doctor would fill you in. Fortunately for us, HIPAA laws protect us from people like you. You could probably face a bit of trouble – as a pharmacist – for giving such advice.

  11. Johnny says:

    From years of being a patient on heavy pain relieving medications (since retirement) due to an extra lumbar vertebrae and several discs that are now all but gone, I have seen this type of behavior in pharmacists. As a retired police officer I have also seen patient behavior prompting pharmacists to act this way.

    However the scare of being taken to task by the DEA (I guess) has sometimes made this worse. Having been on the same time released opioid, at the same dosage, and only getting my prescriptions from the same pharmacy for over 5 years, as well as having a family member who worked in this pharmacy for years (until she left for nursing school), and with the staff knowing the entire family on a first name basis such that they often asked about how the young ones (called by name) were doing, I was very surprised to encounter a similar situation. Upon presenting the prescription two days before the prior one would run out, I was told they did not have this in stock and had never stocked it. Never? What have I been getting for five years? It was then I noticed the tech was relaying information from a substitute pharmacist (large chain). OK, someone new to me, possibly new to the profession (based on age and substitue status), being extra careful, not a huge problem.

    They said they could order it but it would take 5 days, well you have to what you have to do. I learned years earlier when the manufacturer pulled all of their pain medications for repackaging into a different tamper resistant pill which caused none to be available for a month, that sometimes the medication cannot be obtained in a timely manner. So in the interim years I safely stored doses that were missed, for just such an occurrence. But then I almost fell over when they told me one of their other locations, 10 miles away, had it in stock and I could go there. A different location? Are you not aware that the DEA requires an agreement be signed to only obtain medications from one location? Dumb-founded look from the pharmacist and tech. I ordered my medication.

    I respect all it takes to become a pharmacist, but sometimes that errant dumb thought enters even educated heads. And I really feel for the genuine patient who encounters this and sometimes feels as if they have been treated as a drug abuser, because sometimes they are. Being on long term pain relief medication is a stigma that many are ashamed of and it is only compounded when others treat them (real or imagined) that way.

  12. Lorraine says:

    SJ:
    Obviously you missed the most important issue here. It’s not so much what the pharmacist did, it’s how she did it. I can’t imagine that happening to me because I live in San Francisco and not in a small town somewhere. I can’t believe this pharmacist then call all the others in the area simply to stop this woman from getting her script filled. Leave it up to the other pharmacists on how they want to handle it for goodness sakes.
    You just totally missed the point. This woman was humiliated for no reason by an insensitive and seemingly noisy woman who finds enjoy in the misery of others.
    I all two degrees in the Allied Health Sciences and Patient Care was on both of my board exams. Sounds like perhaps pharmacists don’t bother with that.

  13. SJ says:

    KP is just being ignorant, but some of you are no better. As a pharmacist, I know it’s a hassle deciphering real and legitimate prescriptions. When someone like the Colleen comes in with a mistake that is not her fault, it sucks. One, she doesn’t understand why there is a problem because she is following her prescribers directions . Two, we don’t understand why there is a problem because we are following the prescribers directions.

    There are two routes, call the prescriber or not call the prescriber. If you don’t call the prescriber, then you can either not fill it and leave a potential authentic customer screwed OR you can fill it and risk getting discplined later on down the line for bullshit they expect pharmacist do for controlled substances (CS). Some of you think that pharmacists want to “police” the drugs. In my opinion and from many other people I know, we don’t want that burden of having to go “CSI” all over each CS. Thus to avoid that, the pharmacist should have called the prescriber and figured out that problem. There are a multitude of issues with calling the prescriber. One, prescribers aren’t always that responsive (eg, time or demeanor). Two, the ton of other customers screaming at you to hurry because they think they are at a fast-food restaurant. Three, the amount of unauthentic prescriptions and the delay it would cause in filling said screaming customers. Four, the AMA actually does not want pharmacists to interfere with prescribers, so the DEA is telling pharmacists they better do XYZ, but the AMA is saying leave us alone. I could go on, but basically there is a tug of war between our time for filling as many prescriptions as possible (corporate), fixing problems (our own, patients, prescribers, etc), providing patient care (most important), and other things.

    If anyone wants to be treated, then it’s a two-way street. Go into the pharmacy and tell the pharmacist your medical conditions and what issues you have. Don’t treat pharmacists as not the “DOCTOR!!” (per the author) so it won’t be a surprise when you always come in like clockwork (as a good patient should do), because unfortunately good patient timing mimics unauthentic patients. Worst case scenario, call the prescriber yourself and tell them to call the pharmacy.

  14. Lorraine says:

    I couldn’t agree more! One of the ironies of all of this is that the very people who need to take this issue on (me included) are too sick to do so. It’s going to take someone with the strength to organize. Hopefully there will be one fine person out there who will be able to take this on.
    Ignorance fueled by propaganda from the Media (60 Minutes & the Katie Couric show) is giving strength to an already power crazed arm of the government.

  15. Cathy says:

    To the author of this article it breaks my heart to hear your story. This is happening to so many (legitimate) pain patients all over the country. It is a media hyped induced knee jerk reaction of the News Journalists in the US and the DEA who are now upping the ante on their “war on drugs”. Most chronic pain patients take their pain meds as prescribed. The DEA has now put such fear into pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS that most are flat out refusing to fill pain meds at all. This is leading up to major class action law suits. I can’t imagine what you are going through, as I use to know a woman who had Scleroderma and it is a horrible disease that causes every part of the body to literally become hardened in place. It is very painful and she was never able to move her fingers as they were calcified in place by the skin and ligaments. I know elderly people who suffer from a great deal of chronic pain from arthritis and the only way that these folks can get through the day is with their pain medications. It seems to me that the DEA has turned the pharmacies into “scrutinizing doctors” to the point of interfering with their treatment of their patients. I know that many pharmacies are also red flagging many patients in state wide data bases if patients fill before a 3 day period, or if the pharmacy thinks that too many pain meds were prescribed. In other words the Pharmacy decides if they think your prescription is appropriate based on their limited knowledge of your health issues. They make the call as to whether they think a Physician is in the right to prescribe said medicines. It is over reaching, and is not their role to do this. They do not have the years of college and medical training to the level that the physicians do, and the physicians know your physical health and issues far better than some second hand party. I really hope all of these pain patients work together to file a class action suit against pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS. I really do. This really has to stop in my opinion.

  16. sharon motts says:

    I’m going through the same thing. I work for Costco wholesale great company terrible pharmacist. I can only go to Costco,meijer,or rite aid. I have a horrible illness. the pharmacist has called other stores not to fill my prescription. he has no idea what is wrong with me . He filled my meds for 3 years now he wants to save the world.I am going to talk to a attorney today. Also half the employees in his department.know my business,

  17. Lynn Thomas says:

    thanks
    :-) for sharing I know this degarding feeling we people who don’t live in our shoe, my doctor said we are medical dependant I am a diabetic, we
    Have all felt this at one time or another even though I’m well document with I/C,Hungers ulcers that make me bleed every time I pee, von willabranes which means I don’t have enough platelet s to clot,Thalassemia minor which makes me animic and my futures, uturs andblow attached to my addomianial wall a result of a eplashion gone wrongs ( I told him I had a uturs that was heart shaped pleaded for him to take it out he said had to do this first, machine ist,s a triangle)5600 out of of pocket a 10 min visit, another horrible surgical. Experience so much pain thank god. i have a great pain dock,who steped in ,I feel your pain i have found staying with one doc for pain and one great pharmacy to fill everything helps so much i dont know if a have a medi cap meeting the owner and having a personal patient rep has helped so much they fill everything except on sunday and if there is a problem you have the owners number. It sucks a few people looking for a high has ruined it for us truly ill people:-)

  18. Anthony Davais says:

    Thank you George. We all need to support this page!

    https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

  19. Anthony Davais says:

    First of all, I am so sorry that all of you have to be treated this way. I am fortunate that my Pharmacy (Safeway) hasn’t given me any problems. It makes me livid that you people have been treated rudely by these Pharmacists. Who the HELL do they think they are? They certainly have no business second guessing the Doctor. Since when have they been able to override a Doctors prescription? Unless the Pharmacist is a PharmD, I believe they attend Medical School. They are called a Doctor of Pharmacueticals. But I still believe, they should not be given the power of overriding the Doctors.

    It is my understanding that the DEA and FDA are rolling out this campaign to eradicate all Opiod/Narcotic pain relievers. My Doctor no longer prescribes Narcotics he had to send me to a Pain Management Doctor who said he can only slowly ween me off them. This will be the growing trend. These government agencies are making it so difficult for the Doctors that they no longer want to deal with Narcotics. The DEA has decided, the only way to get rid of the problem of these drugs ending up in the streets is to get rid of them all together. They made this decision with little regard to people like us that rely on these medications for a little quality of life. I think we should all join together and fight for our rights. The problem is most of us don’t have the energy or means to do this. Thanks for listening.

  20. jami says:

    To all pharmacists who feel they can better treat my illness better than my dr., think again. You may spend 3 years learning about meds and how they affect the body, but did you go to medical school? Did you send me for countless tests and review the results? Spend half hour consultations with me? Know my medical history? Gone through the countless procedures and seen the results? You don’t know anything about me other than what a dr. that does know me chose to treat me with. If you are half medical professional you think you are , You would know you are not equipped to make my medical decisions . You simply do not have enough information . If that’s what you want to do , go back to school and be a real doctor .

  21. Yes, this is ridiculous. I haven’t been prescribed prescription painkillers for my newly erupted arthritis, but I have to physically get a new prescription for my Ativan (for my anxiety disorder) and my Ambien (for the insomnia that comes with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) every month.

    People who abuse drugs shouldn’t have the power to make it this difficult for those of us who actually need them. The DEA and all of the other stupid government regulations concerning drugs we need a doctor to write a prescription for need to change. Having an invisible illness is hard enough without having to be discriminated against at the pharmacy.

  22. Erika says:

    @KP ….. I respect that you are very defensive of people in your profession, however your bias opinion makes me think that people with your thought process shouldn’t be the people behind a counter helping people. At least the doctor corrected himself, but I do not see in the story she has written, that any pharmacist had apologized. I probably would of pressed charges. Colleen must of been being nice.
    I often pity people who don’t have compassion for those in chronic pain. I pity you because in your heart there’s a true unkindness, and sense of being high and mighty. Pharmacists on a their high horse. People without compassion often don’t give two rats butts about other peoples conditions, they are just pharmacists for the money. Every day I have to watch my mom be in pain physically until her pain medication kicks in, then I have to see her feel guilty or upset that she can’t live a normal life. Her pharmacist has repeatedly messed up her prescription even if her Doctor had written it properly. Pharmacists like that are pigs. Imagine if Colleen hadn’t gotten her medication, what kind of condition she would be in? If my mom, who has SLE Lupus Rheumatoid arthritis and many other issues, was treated that way I would take it to court, I would throw the biggest hissy fit. I would contact every news station and every paper I could until I got that whole pharmacy shut down until they found more caring pharmacists. Why? Because KP people like you, those who think they are better than others because you “Have knowledge” but you are clearly not a pharmacist because you care. In my experience, watching what my mom has been through, I think most pharmacists will get what they deserve. In the long run Colleen, this will come back to those jerks. They are just bullies, over privileged children. Clearly KP “lacks knowledge” about Bullies and what makes a Bully. Sweet Colleen, I won’t be that person to say “Im sorry you are suffering every day” I will say I am proud of you for being stronger than most people without pain, who stress the petty things and never have to worry about the kind of things you do.

  23. Tracy Pease says:

    I can relate to your story and I went to the Facebook site your dad set up and joined immediately.

    I went to get my pain meds filled one month and after I picked them up and walked away from the window, I noticed it had been filled incorrectly and that I would run out in one month but not be allowed to get more for 3 months. I hadn’t even left the aisle, much less the store, but when I went back, I was told that they had filled it correctly. I knew how important it was that they fix it because otherwise I would be in agony for 2 months.

    I fought with the woman at the counter until she said she refused to deal with me anymore and walked away. I never even raised my voice or used foul or obscene language. I tried to remain calm as I was confronted by 3 more pharmacy techs. The pharmacist wouldn’t make eye contact with me, much less intervene. One of the techs (techs are only required to have a high school degree and a little extra training) kept telling me that my insurance required they fill it the way they did. I explained that they always filled it a different way (they had for years), but he was not listening to me and refused to say anything else. Only 1 of the techs was doing anything useful by looking things up on the computer and looking guilty. I put my hand up to stop the guy from repeating the same thing over and over again and he reacted like I had hit him. He was so offended! I was the one being verbally attacked and treated like a criminal and he was the one who was offended!

    I finally called the store manager who intervened, told them all to be quiet, and got the pharmacist to fix the script.

    I cannot believe that it took all of that to get a script filled correctly. I cannot believe that in the process I was guilty before innocent and that I was treated so poorly. If it had been my heart meds or my antidepressant, they never would have acted like that.

    I had used that pharmacy several times a month for years, but I have never gone back.

  24. Please help us to raise awareness of the inhumane DEA policies, and the arrogance of callous pharmacists, like commentors # 19, 20 and 21, Kp and Cory. You can read the volumes of documentation that we have researched and posted about the DEA’s misguided war on sick and injured Americans at our Facebook page…
    https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

  25. Cory and KP,
    I am Colleen Sullivan’s father, and I feel compelled to comment on some of the erroneous statements made by several people replying to her story.

    First, let me say thank you to those who posted so many, very compassionate comments. You understand.

    However, to CORY and KP… I’d like to tell you both that you have demonstrated that you possess absolutely no understanding of the situation with which my seriously ill daughter is dealing. You see, Colleen’s mother and I are with her at each and every doctor’s appointment, from her specialists, to her pain management doctor. We also accompany our daughter to the pharmacies to fill ALL of her prescriptions, from the anti rejection drug, CellCept, normally reserved for organ transplant patients, to her pain medication. We know the facts, we’ve witnessed the prejudice, and what Colleen has reported here is 100% true.

    Cory questions why she was “kicked out” of her pain management doctors practice. Colleen only used that term because that is how it made her feel. The doctor has been our family doctor for years, and he was the very last physician in the Florida Keys who would even write pain relief prescriptions, because the DEA has overwhelmed each and every doctor into submitting to their policy of “No More Opioids” ! Our family doctor told Colleen and I that “I (he) can no longer write pain relief prescriptions for anyone, because the US DEA has threatened to shut my (his) practice down and take everything I (he) owned.”

    Due to the serious, overlapping immune system disorders, from which Colleen suffers, she must see a battery of doctors and specialists, all of whom have told us that “she requires serious, prescription pain relief medicine”. They have 12 years of medical records, which include 2 years of chemotherapy, multiple immunoglobulin infusions, muscle biopsies, 4 years of Enbrel biomed injections, immune system suppressants, and a litany of drugs and treatments that we couldn’t even have imagined, before she got sick, at age 17. When our family doctor was threatened by the DEA, he readily referred Colleen to the nearest pain management doctor, a mere 80 miles away.

    Now, thanks to these DEA policies, Colleen must see a new doctor, who is unfamiliar with her condition, for the same medicine that our family doctor, who is very familiar with her, used to be able to prescribe.

    It is also DEA policy that requires Colleen to see the new doctor, in person, every 30 days, sit in a waiting room full of germs and viruses that could be deadly to Colleen due to her suppressed immune system, then submit to a humiliating drug test, to make sure that she is taking the medicine, which she needs so badly. That is ridiculous, dangerous, and inhumane !

    When we leave the doctors office, the next ordeal begins. Trying to find a pharmacy that has her medicine in stock. You see, Cory and KP, the DEA also requires that she fill her prescriptions at a pharmacy within 5 miles of her home. The fact is, the nearest pharmacy is 15 miles from her residence.

    When Colleen and I walk up to the pharmacy counter, we always hear the same “Hello, how can I help you?” When they read her prescription, however, the dirty looks that we receive are heartbreaking ! When we fill her numerous other prescriptions, we’re treated with respect, but as soon as the pharmacists see the pain relief prescriptions, they become mean, ugly and even hateful. Often, they simply drop the prescription on the counter, and as they walk away they grumble that “We’re out”, “We don’t carry that”, and they treat my daughter and me like criminal drug addicts. In my 64 years on this planet, I have never encountered such blatant, disrespect, especially from people who are supposed to be professionals. If the pharmacists get a look at her bent and swollen hands and fingers, they suddenly do a complete about face. I have seen the same person that just angrily barked “We don’t carry that”, look at her hands and say, “Oh, you really do need this”. Then they tell us, “Give us 30 minutes and we’ll have it ready for you”.

    We have found one pharmacy manager, who is very familiar with Colleen’s illness, and tries hard to show her respect and compassion. If he’s not the one at the counter, however, the disrespect and lies flow like boiling water.

  26. Malia says:

    I am so sorry to read this Connie. I have a pharmacy that I trust, who I have been seeing for 7 years, and I still run into issues almost every month. It is so wrong that we are taught to expect bad treatment, to be embarrassed by our disease. Can you imagine if a cancer patient was treated the same way? Would not happen.

    I wrote a blog about this same topic a year or so ago: “The Lunatic at the Counter or Why You Saw Me Crying at Target:”
    http://laborpain.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/the-lunatic-at-the-counter-or-why-you-saw-me-crying-at-target/

  27. Thanks Ryan!! I sure will tell him :) Thank you for your support <3

  28. Ryan says:

    Oh yeah Colleen, best of luck to you. I’m a member of your dad’s Facebook group; tell him to keep up the good fight! Happy to help any way I can.

  29. Nancy says:

    I so understand how you felt and I never thought that I would be in this predicament. I worked in the medical field for almost 30 years before I had a surgery that caused me to become permanently disabled. I rememeber as I wrote and ran all the clinic reports for the hospital, the ER committee wanted me to run reports on what they called frequent flyers and they marked their charts as they were all flagged as drug seeking patients. I thought hot cruel these doctors are and is it really that or is it because most of these patients have no insurance or on Medi-cal. I have been disabled since 2006 but have been on pain medicines since I had a failed cervical fusion in 2000. I am now on Medicare and each year you pick your drug insurance by the medicines you take. Well it happened that my doctor changed my medicine as he wanted me on a long acting one and not the short acting one. It took me awhile to work up to the dose he felt was a good therapeutic dose. Well last month I went to have my medicine filled and I was completely out because once a year my family meets for a reunion for a week, well the three hour car ride, being in a different bed all exacerbates my pain so I used my medicine exactly how it was prescribed. I have been using the same pharmacy for over 10 years. Well they said your insurance has a limit on how many you can have of these a month so come back in three weeks. I said well I have always just paid cash for the amount they would not cover and you guys have been fine with this all year. Had I known this was going to be an issue I would of had my doctor write a letter to the insurance company. So they left me high and dry for several weeks I did have some other medicine that I used but my pain was an 8 for those two weeks. I could not get out of bed, could not eat, it was terrible. I thought if I had no insurance they would of not even questioned me as the amount of this medicine is not half of what I know other people take. I too was so humiliated I just went home and cried. I am going to use my mail order pharmacy so I don’t have to deal with these people anymore they send you three months at a time. My doctor will have to call the insurance company and do an appeal. I never worried about it because this medicine was so cheap it did not seem to be worth the hassle. I know that the pharmacist are suppose to be the gatekeeper of the medicines. I know at the hospital they saved many people from receiving a toxic level of medicines or the wrong medicine or a medicine that was a contradiction to another med they were on. But I felt like this was a personal attack on me as it was not a toxic level. Why all of a sudden did the rules change. I think we need to stand together and fight for our rights against the DEA. I think their agenda is all wrong. Is it because they can’t stop the war on illegal drugs that they need to prove they are doing something? Why don’t they take Bath Salts off the market and how come they let medicines like Avandia stay on the market for years after they know it is killing thousands of people every month. Makes you wonder as believe me the huge drug companies are some of the wealthiest business around. They often mark up their product 5,000 – 10.000 per cost. When a new company makes a good generic before they make their first pill the big companies just buy them off. Now is that fair? I think they are as crocked as the drug pushers, but they do it legally.

  30. Lisa says:

    Corey,

    “Just so you know, there is evidence that shows that oxycodone and other opiates should not be used for chronic pain. It works on the mu receptor, which begins to down-regulate after 4-6 months of chronic use. At this point it can actually have a detrimental impact on your pain.”

    I appreciate your concern for patients on oxycodone and other opiates. But each patient is individual and reacts differently to medications, especially those taken long-term. I would much rather find a way to fix the cause of my pain, but it is not possible, and believe me – we’ve looked at everything modern medicine and alternative medicine, nutrition, herbal, and every other option one can think of. several methods I use to help. But without oxycodone I would not be able to live my life.

    I have taken Oxycontin with Oxycodone for breakthrough pain for over 4 years now. For 6 years before that, I was receiving woefully inadequate pain relief and trying every pain relief method out there, both to treat cause and to treat pain. Many of us get to the end of that list and are still left with pain. Please don’t try to talk these patients out of oxycodone and other opiates.

    They should not be the first choice. But for many, they are the right choice.

    I was paranoid about becoming addicted to pain meds, but after years of frustration and losing more of my life each day, my doctor and I finally had a conversation in which he said we had tried everything else and if I wanted quality of life back, we needed to try extended release opiates.

    Thank all the gods I listened! I have known from the day of that conversation that it is possible my body will get “used” to this dosage and it will have to be increased or I will have to find a new med at some point. But 4 1/2 years and counting and my dose and pain levels are the same as they were when I first achieved pain management. What changed is that I have my life back. I do not spend endless days in bed. I have to watch what I do, I had to come to grips with the fact that there are things I will NEVER be able to do again, but I’d trade this for the life I had 5 years ago any day of the week.

    I went from spending the vast majority of my time in bed crying from constant pain to being able to go out, take care of my personal needs without assistance, do light chores, and even do 15 minutes on my treadmill twice a day with arm weights! That would not have been possible without my meds.

    Be careful of blanket statements. Someone will always prove you wrong.

  31. Lisa says:

    For pharmacist KP, one question – if you had a seizure patient come in with a prescription for an anticonvulsant and the insurance said it was early, the dosage had changed, and last month’s had been different as well, but the patient had a history of several months of steady dose, would YOU have just told them they were filling early and sent them away? Without even asking them if their dosage had changed or calling their physician? Would you have then called other pharmacies and warn them that this patient was filling scripts for Topamax early?

    Insert heart medication or any other med for a chronic health concern, and tell me you would have sent them on their way without trying to help them.

    My guess is no. My guess is that you would have tried to help the patient figure out what was wrong and correct it. And if you can’t say honestly that you would treat the pain patient the same way you would treat any other patient with a chronic condition on chronic medication that should not be abruptly discontinued, then you are prejudiced against pain patients.

    There is a right way to handle this particular situation, a way to both fulfill your job as pharmacist and take care of your patient.

    If this young lady had presented for several months with the same script, then presented with a different script, how long does it take to ask if her dosage changed? When I worked behind the pharmacy counter we had dosage changes all the time, to the point where we had a special little label that warned patients this dosage was different from their last fill of that medication. The patient would then have looked at the script realized the error (if they missed it on the written script), and either pharmacist or patient or both could have called the doctor and gotten this straightened out without traumatizing the patient. The doctor would have corrected the error, the insurance company notified, and all would be well.

    But no, KP, you (like this young lady’s pharmacist) assumed a computer at an insurance company knew more about her treatment than she did. Computers often kicked things out – right now my very patient pharmacist and I have been on the phone every month with Express Script, whose computer remains convinced that I still have a primary insurance I haven’t had since 2011 even though we call every month and Express Scripts tells us it’s fixed the problem every month. It happens.

    Even if your scenario where the last script as well as the current one had been written wrong, this patient still had a history of several months at a steady dosage. If the patient denies knowledge of dosage change, the pharmacist should call the doctor and verify this.

    There are far more trustworthy pain patients out there than there are scammers. We dealt with scammers at my pharmacy, and its no fun. But customer service entails giving your customer, your patient, the benefit of the doubt long enough to make a phone call.

    Instead, like the pharmacist at Publix, you would have sent this patient, already in pain, away from her pharmacy of record (probably the one on her pain contract – the one she agreed was the pharmacy where she would fill all scripts) with no recourse. The Publix pharmacist did not even recommend that the patient call her doctor.

    And for those who questioned HIPPA, no, HIPPA does not cover warning all pharmacies just in case the patient makes the decision to become a patient at another pharmacy in the future. That is crystal ball gazing and it’s BS. If you have a known criminal, if you have a doctor with a missing script pad call you and then a patient comes in with scripts from this doctor that you confirm are bogus, yes, THEN you call others pharmacies and warn them.

    But this kind of high-handed, the computer’s always right, it doesn’t matter if you have a history with us or not – that is NOT good patient care or customer service. At my pharmacy, my boss would have fired a pharmacist for that.

  32. Anthony Davais says:

    @KP….Another Pharmacist prejudging. Your comment clearly shows your attitude. Your statement, ” I believe the patient is in pain when they present a script for opiates”. says it all. It is NOT your job to believe or not believe, to judge or not judge, your job is to FILL the prescriptions. I agree the problem started with the Doctor, I do not believe a Pharmacists due diligence is to first call other Pharmacies warning them that she might be it trying to refill her prescription early. The Pharmacist (had she been educated properly and acted like a Professional) should have pulled her aside privately and discussed the problem, especially since she had been getting her scripts filled there for 9 months, she would of figured out the script was written wrong and she then should have called the Doctor and cleared it up. BUT NO, THE PHARMACIST PREJUDGED HER AND AUTOMATICALLY ASSUMED SHE WAS A DRUG SEEKER TRYING TO FILL IT EARLY. One would think that a Pharmacist would call the Doctors office first before prejudging, but sadly, Pharmacists are spending too much time policing drug seekers rather than trying to help customers clear up errors and issues like this one. So KP, let me prejudge you, I can tell that you are one of the Pharmacists that is fueling the problem. I can tell what kind of attitude you have by the way you are blaming clinics in another state and the fact that you openly state that you do not fill scripts from those states. Who are you to JUDGE these clinics and the way these states conduct business. You are just another PharmD on your high horse, maybe you should find work in another field if this one is so frustrating for you. I can only imagine how you treat your customers. I would hope people would go to another Pharmacy rather than put up with your prejudging. I bet you have had several issues with opiate scripts and you will continue to have issues as long as your spending so much time determining if these customers are in pain or not. Thank GOD we patients have the right to change Pharmacies when we are treated unprofessionally and prejudged. I believe Colleen should write a few letters about this incident and how she was treated and send them to the people that will follow up and address this Pharmacists customer service antics or lack of.

  33. Ryan says:

    “Also, why was she kicked out of the doctors practice?”

    You must not have much experience with pain clinics. If a pharmacy was calling about her scripts, that will induce a pain clinic to discharge a patient. Pain clinics have a VERY low tolerance for “drama.” When pharmacies call and make accusations, many clinics, for fear of law enforcement and prosecution, will immediately take the side of the pharmacy and drop the patient for noncompliance. Most pain clinics have waiting lists, so losing a patient or five isn’t a big concern. Simply firing the patient is the easy path for them, and they’ll do it if the patient presents any inkling of drama or challenge.

  34. Ryan says:

    It most certainly WAS a HIPAA violation for that pharmacist to call all the pharmacies in town and discuss this patient by name. Yes, health care providers and pharmacists can discuss this patient’s health care information. HOWEVER, she was not a Walgreens patient until she showed up at Walgreens and asked that her script be filled. Publix called Walgreens PRIOR to her showing up and asking for the script. Publix shared information with an entity that, at that point in time, was NOT one of her health care providers, which is a CLEAR HIPAA violation.

  35. KP – on Aug 7 at 9:03 pm you commented on this story and I have to tell you, it REALLY upset me. First of all, you are a pharmacist….so how can you possibly understand being chronically ill or in pain every single day 24 hours? Also, I really don’t appreciate you saying that I “lack knowledge”. For your information, I am 29 years old and have been sick for 13 of those years. I have done endless hours of studying both pharmacy procedures and state laws regarding controlled substances. What you said was RUDE and uncalled for. But reading that you’re a pharmacist..well your rudeness is starting to make sense.

    You are correct about the problem being the script was written wrong…yes it was. But you forgot to mention I said I had been going to that particular pharmacy for at least 9 months at this point. The pharmacist knew me specifically and I knew her. She saw me every month and has all my records…so basically she could of just looked on the computer to see I wasn’t early.

    You started assuming just like she did that day. I can’t even believe it. This just proves to me how incredibly stubborn all pharmacists are and they will always push the blame to us sick people. Seriously….pharmacists are paid to do their job which includes calling doctors and making sure they are correct before humiliating a very sick person. Please, keep your negative comments to yourself unless you really know what’s going on.

    ((Original Post))
    “KP says:
    August 7, 2013 at 9:07 pm
    As a PharmD, your post demonstrates your lack of both legal and pharmacy knowledge. I believe you are in pain. As a pharmacist, I believe most people who present with opioid scripts are in pain. In your case, the problem was with the MD…who WROTE the rx wrong. Not with the pharmacist who was doing due diligence. You are in real pain, but many people are not, especially with Florida pain clinics who write rx’s for peopel they don’t see or properly evaluate (I am not in Florida – we do not fill Florida or Georgia controls because of these pain clinics). Your rx flagged as early because it was written incorrectly the first time, not because your pharmacist was judging you. If you billed your insurance, they would flag it as early and no phone calls would be required. Please make sure you do your research on our profession of pharmacy before assume you are being pigeon-holed.”

  36. Thank you all again for your comments and well wishes. Please come join our facebook page and share your stories there. Together we can make a difference!! Please come join!

    https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

  37. Vincent Rx says:

    Opioids do not work on fibromyalgia because fibromyalgia is not a nociceptive pain. The “relief” that you feel is the Mu receptors releasing “happy-because-I’m-high” molecules due to the opioid stimulation. It is the first step to addiction. The body associates pain with happy molecules; you can pretty much draw the conclusion. Keep in mind that nociceptive pain is hardly ever chronic, and the body has a way of building tolerance to that type of pain. Neuropathic pain on the other hand is total different animal which has a different pathway for attenuation.

  38. Anthony Davais says:

    I am a chronic pain patient also and I feel your frustration. I think what shocks me the most is the Pharmacist’s on here that are making excuses for her. Your Pharmasist clearly broke patient privacy act, not to mention she was clearly unprofessional and prejudice. I too have dealt with a pharmacist that thought she wAs God. If your pharmacist would have simply called your Doctors offiice to verify the script instead of ASSUMING that you were trying to fill it early, they would have discovered the error and that would of resolved the issue. But she or he chose to prejudge you and call the other pharmacies, which was clearly slanderous. Plus she should have been discreet while discussing this with you. Also, don’t you love it when they tell you that pAin medications do not work after a few months. How do they know what works for every patient? I have been on MS Contin and Norco for over 5 years and they still work for me. I’m fed up with vindictive pharmacists that think they are GOD. I am thankful that I have finally found a professional non-PrejudIce Pharmacist as they are hard to find in my experience.

  39. anthony dinucci says:

    Sorry to everyone that has chronic pain. This is difficult enough without the world judging us for meds we take. I am 28 and was diagnosed with fibro when i was 16 but have had intense chronic pain my whole life. I have tried everything on Gods green earth to deal with this. The only thing that has helped at all is narcotic pain killers. I take norco and refuse to ever take anything stronger regardless of my pain level. It has been a struggle for me my whole life to obtain pain meds. It has gotten so bad that I am now too embarrassed to even go to a doctor. Their is nothing else they can do for me but they will not give me the only thing that does help. I have been told my whole life “you’re too young and look too healthy to need pain killers, you must just be a drug addict” If I hear that one more time I’m going to totally lose my mind. I had a doctor for 1 year who understood but he retired. Now again I am left to suffer with no relief in sight. May the grace of God shine down on all of us who suffer with chronic pain. Love too everyone

  40. Nick C says:

    I wanted to address the comments that said there were HIPAA violations. There were none. Health information can be shared freely among health professionals when pertaining to that patients care.

    I can agree that the whole situation could have been handled better but the blame is being wrongfully directed at the pharmacists. The doctor wrote the directions wrong at least 2 months in a row and the patient didnt follow the ‘wrong directions’ from the previous month and just took the tablets without regard to the directions on the bottle. Also, why was she kicked out of the doctors practice?

    Again, if the doctor or patient had noticed the dosing error this would have been a non issue. In this story the pharmacists were the only ones who did not drop the ball and did what they were supposed to do.

    That being said they could have explained their decision not to fill the prescription better to the patient and more quietly.

  41. Lorraine says:

    I am a 52 year old woman who has suffered from painful, strange illnesses for over 20 years. I have 3 autoimmune diseases, one which is destroying the gastric cells in my stomach. I also have IBS which is very painful. In the year 2009 I had Breast Cancer in March, 4 Pulmonary Embolisms in May and Open Heart Surgery in September. I was able to recover from all of this, but when I had the 4 P.E.’s I would put on what I call the “Devil Drug”, coumadin. Because you have to limit your intake of green leafy vegetables (I was a vegetarian at the time) you are also limiting your intake of Thiamine (B1). As time went on I became more and more tired. Got to the point where I was sleeping 20 to 22 hours a day. No one could find out what was wrong until a very wise doctor checked my thiamine levels. I had levels only seen in starving people in developing nations. After all of that happened, I finally fell into Fibromyalgia. The chronic pain continued to grow until one day I raced to a Rheumatologist. He ordered a nuclear bone scan which was negative for bone cancer. He then diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. He then told me he chose not to see me again because “chronic pain patients burn me out”. After many more doctors and many more years learning all about my disease I have yet to find a good pain management doctor. I STILL do not have a 24 hr cycle med which would allow me to wake up pain free. This would enable to me get some exercise (I’ve gained 80 lbs), lower my cholesterol levels and perhaps even go back to work. I’ve been fighting this for years and currently have a 2nd appeal into Kaiser for this reason. Someone posted how great it is because Kaiser has they own pharmacies and I agree. But that’s where, in my opinion, this HMO being related to the word “great” ends. After two years I do not have a pain management doctor I can work with and trust. He would much rather Rx oxycodone for me than try to find a 24 hr cycle med. I’m very active in the Fibromyalgia community and it infuriates me to hear about what others are able to get to properly manage their pain. Methadone, Bustran patches, Fentanyl patches, etc. They are properly medicated and are much stronger physically than it am. I chase my pain, I’m not in front of it which is the point.
    I never hang my head when I turn in my Rx’s for Oxycodone. I am not ashamed that I take narcotics for my pain.
    I am so sorry Colleen that you have to go through such humiliation. I live in California and have never had a problem. Florida sounds especially bad. This is the first I’ve heard of the DEA setting new limits on filling prescriptions, but I have NO problem reporting to them my discontent with this new age witch hunt they are launching.
    About six months ago I started hearing rumblings about the problems with teens getting “hooked” on their parents prescription medications. More news shows on the subject. Then Katie Couric had a show on the “epidemic”. I was SO angry when I watched the show. No mention about the millions of people who do need these drugs. Just a panel of doctors talking about this “epidemic” of addiction. So we are being punished because parents can’t keep meds our of the hands of their children.
    I could write about this all day so I’ll stop now. I continue to be in pain daily until someone get’s a clue. Until then I will continue to appeal all the way up to Medicare. I wish someone who knew all about the DEA and chronic pain would start a petition or an organization to protect us.
    Best,
    Lorraine

  42. Rebecca says:

    I hate to ‘get political’ but I call BS on John Gibson. As a chronic pain patient of 15 years, I can assure you – this crap was going on long before Obama came into office. And who is president and who he puts in any office had VERY little actual effect on the prejudice of average people.

    I

  43. KP says:

    As a PharmD, your post demonstrates your lack of both legal and pharmacy knowledge. I believe you are in pain. As a pharmacist, I believe most people who present with opioid scripts are in pain. In your case, the problem was with the MD…who WROTE the rx wrong. Not with the pharmacist who was doing due diligence. You are in real pain, but many people are not, especially with Florida pain clinics who write rx’s for peopel they don’t see or properly evaluate (I am not in Florida – we do not fill Florida or Georgia controls because of these pain clinics). Your rx flagged as early because it was written incorrectly the first time, not because your pharmacist was judging you. If you billed your insurance, they would flag it as early and no phone calls would be required. Please make sure you do your research on our profession of pharmacy before assume you are being pigeon-holed.

  44. Corey says:

    I should also add that the pharmacist can also be deemed liable for a patient’s death if it is due to an overdose that could have been caught by the dispensing pharmacist…oxycodone is considered high risk for such a thing to occur especially in Florida where pain clinics have been found to be oxy mills where doctors don’t see their patients (just as you describe) and only write the prescription for $100 easy. Would you go to jail for someone you felt was using something in appropriately?

  45. Corey says:

    Just so you know, there is evidence that shows that oxycodone and other opiates should not be used for chronic pain. It works on the mu receptor, which begins to down-regulate after 4-6 months of chronic use. At this point it can actually have a detrimental impact on your pain. Proper pain management should be mechanistically-based to control the pain rather than covered up with the high that can be achieved via opiates..they cover up your care for feeling the pain, similar to smoking weed or using other drugs. It may be a surprise to you, but medical doctors (MDs) go through a semester of pharmacotherapy (the study of medications), where as doctors of pharmacy (PharmDs) go through three years of pharmacotherapy. Typically, we have a better understanding of how medications work in your body and can gear your treatment towards the underlying cause of the pain. What are you taking for the neuropathic pain? Is there somatic pain or visceral? Go to a pain clinic that works hand-in-hand with a pharmacist because they will, as a team, provide you with better and more directed therapy and spent more than five minutes with you to see how you are actually doing.

  46. Susanne says:

    I am a 44 year old female Fibromyalgia patient living in Florida. I used to take Oxycodone for a number of years, I’m not sure now how many, to control the relentless pain this dumb disease brings on a daily basis. I can empathize with the author’s experience, as I had a similar issue with my local Publix, but it was not their fault, nor was it a doctor issue. Someone, I don’t know who, nor do I know where it originated, stole my prescription and filled it using my insurance. The catch to this was, the prescription had not been issued to me when it was stolen, meaning someone either pretended to be me, or someone in the doctor’s office stole it and filled it. Not knowing this had happened, I contacted the doctor at the beginning of the month to have him write the script and I picked it up as normal. It wasn’t until I got to the pharmacy to fill it that I found out the insurance wouldn’t pay for it because it had just been filled. So I called the doctor’s office, after they had already written the script and I picked it up, at which time the doctor’s nurse told me I’d already filled the prescription this month, and I was clearly abusing the drug! Long story short, everything got worked out, but it took a lot of tears, frustration and humiliation.

    About this time last year, I was told by the pharmacist, with whom I’ve become friends, that the Feds were clamping down on manufacturers that produce generic oxycodone medications. Each manufacturer has a ‘quota’ for making these drugs, and once they hit this threshold, they cannot make any more of that medication for the rest of the QUARTER! Reading some of the comments here and hearing about the difficulty that some are having getting valid prescriptions filled, I believe what they told me is still true. My pain specialist didn’t mind working with me to find an alternative medication that isn’t so restricted, and that will still give adequate pain control.

    I understand the reason Florida is cracking down on pain meds, specifically Oxycodone meds. We have been the laughing stock of the country from the pill mills we had operating illegally for years. The governor, however, has well over-played his hand and the DEA in general is making miserable the lives of every pain patient that relies on narcotic medications.

  47. Lynn Martin says:

    I too experienced similar issues at a CVS pharmacy. I had been going to Walgreens every month until they started saying they did not have the medication either. I did recently read that Walgreens was fined for not doing something right when filing pain medication prescriptions. Anyway, I changed to CVS and get all my prescriptions filled at CVS not just my pain meds. There were two pharmacists there that were blatantly rude. I too am in Florida. I realize it is a more complicated procedure to fill pain med prescriptions, but we are customers too. It is difficult and draining to go to the doctor for the prescription, to take the prescription to the pharmacy, to have to go back to get the prescription and pray that we are able to pick them filled before we run out! I am a contributing member to society. I work through my chronic, life-long pain. I am not a drug addict. Not even close. After many times of being mistreated, I called CVS and complained. I wrote CVS and complained. Ever since that, the 2 mean pharmacists no longer work there. They must have written something on my file, because now the pharmacy staff goes out of their way to treat me with the dignity and respect they should!!! I would never hesitate to complain, write the BBB or the board of pharmacy. I am sad to read there are so many of us out there being mistreated.

  48. Genie says:

    I just can’t believe the ignorance of a supposed to be professional. I will be praying for you… It infuriates that people just judge others instead of trying to understand. Of course there are those addicts, that give people who really need pain management a bad rep! God bless

  49. Kel says:

    Wow. I’m really glad I don’t live in Florida now. I guess I’ve been lucky. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a couple of years ago and while it took 5 doctors to find one that would work with me I have never experienced rudeness from a pharmacy. I’ve had CVS constantly screw up my prescriptions which is why I transferred everything to Walmart. My current doctor actually listened to me and put me on pain medication since Lyrica & Cymbalta did not work and had horrible side effects. No other doctor would even contemplate that. Colleen I am so sorry you had to experience that. Debbie needs to be reported and fired for violating privacy laws as well as being a total douche in terms of customer service. That’s just ridiculous. She should’ve offered to call the damn doctor’s office. Walmart is always willing to call the doc for me if the script is written in a way that either doesn’t make sense or they can’t fill. I’ve never had them just tell me no and humiliate me. Then again…I’m kind of a b*tch and would start causing a scene if they tried that crap with me. Best of luck to you and I hope this never happens again to anyone…so ridiculous and uncalled for.

  50. Yvonne says:

    Dear Colleen,
    I just read your article and am furious at the self-righteous, full of herself way the pharmacist chose to handle the situation. I haven’t read all the comments so maybe this came up before but I hope you wrought to her supervisors. Usually I am a go with the flow person but that kind of attitude really bugs me! She should be educated herself that she doesn’t KNOW everything and has no right or knowledge to judge others based on her assumptions! Yes, they clearly have to be careful of addicts unfortunately, but they are not the judge and jury of their patients. I truly hope she was reprimanded so she doesn’t do this to someone else. I am glad you are in a situation now with a good team to help you.

  51. tracy says:

    i’m so lucky to have a small family owned pharmacy they never treat me that way sorry for all that has problems chronic pain is no joke

  52. Karla says:

    I have to ask about hipaa – I wonder if it was illegal due to Hipaa laws for her to call other pharmacys and notify them about you? Pharmacist are legally bound to not hand out your info to anyone but you. Just wondering. Sorry you are going through this. Additionally calling your name on the loud speaker like that sounds like a violation also.

  53. Harlina says:

    For those of you that question why, in the end, a pharmacist is the one that decides when a script gets filled or not: pharmacists are now required to complete the same level of schooling as an m.d., hence the title: PharmD. There are many mistakes made by doctors, mistakes that are life and death and are thankfully caught in the end by the pharmacist. Do not get me wrong, there is err in both areas from time to time, but much of this could be avoided if patients stay with one prescriber and one pharmacy. It has been a little easier to take control in this area with centralized profiles, in which prescribers and pharmacists can see a patients medication history regardless of where they recieved the prescription. In regards to the new enforcements on controlled prescriptions, the DEA has found a way to cover their asses for having the most vague and loophole-filled rules and regulations, and in turn, the good apples have been negatively impacted by the rotten ones. I mean this for patients as well as prescribers. It is nearly impossible for my pharmacy to stay in stock of controlled medications as there is now a ‘cap’ on how much we can order and receive in order to keep the amount of narcotics dispensed in an area under a more ‘reasonable’ number. These medications now have to go through a full sheet checklist, with documentation of so many things that we are now forced to give two hour promise times for these targeted medications. In addition to these longer practices, hours have been cut back and we are working with half the staff we should be in most cases to supply the demand. The quality time we want to spend with patients is quickly diminished by the amount of crap the corporate idiots pile on, and each day becomes a race to the finish with the least amount of tears and panic attacks we can hope for. I do sympathize with you, I feel for those of you that are bearing the brunt of these unfortunate circumstances, but rest assured that if you are a legit patient and your prescriber is willing to take responsibility for their care of you, then you will be just fine. The first thing I do when a medication flags as too early, is check the dosing with the last one. It’s unbelievable how many times it’s something as simple as the prescriber taking the time to write the script carefully……..especially when we are now unable, at least in my state, to change anything on the hard copy, forcing the patient to go back to get a new one. Good luck, and please try to remember to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

  54. Donna Ratliff says:

    I can relate to what everyone is saying here. I have a pain patient group on facebook, “Fight For Florida Pain Care Action Network” that advocates for pain care here in FL. I was a FL leader for the American pain Foundation before this. So, I have heard from thousands of legitimate patients suffering because of the access issues to opioid pain medications. I also have a son that has a severe case of chronic Lyme disease. He experiences tremendous pain daily and is on Medicare. Even though he is disabled by SS, he is having horrible problems in getting his pain medications filled also. Medco a Medicare insurance provider has refused to fill for him. I have filed complaints with Medicare against them and have argued his case with many people at Medco. I believe that the DEA has them scared too, along with Walgreens and CVS and many other pharmacies. We live in FL and the problems here for legitimate pain patients is nothing short of cruel. I can’t believe that the politicians here have no compassion for the sick and disabled. It’s gone too far and needs this has to STOP! I have been interviewing with several news journalists about all this and we have even went to the capitol building back in Sept 2012. Please.. Everyone that is having these access problems, keep complaining! Call or email the news stations and make them aware of what your living through. Don’t allow pharmacists to treat you like an addict. I can’t believe that the HIPPA laws are being violated too. The pharmacists at most all places, are requesting your DX codes, asking why you need the medication and then they are deciding if you need the medications. Can you believe this? They are NOT doctors and they also don’t ensure you that your medical info is protected with them. How can they do this legally? I honestly hope that everyone also writes to the ACLU because this is a civil rights issue and should not be happening. Let’s not give up!

    The last pain doctor visit, the doctor stated that nearly no one was able to fill oxycodone in Tampa FL metro area. He has stopped writing for most any type of it because the pharmacies will not fill it. Very few are able to fill this very effective medicine for pain. The doctor stated that many patients weren’t doing very well since they had to change the b/t med. He said he would gladly write for oxycodone again if patients could only fill the prescriptions, until then? Suffering is in order. What are we going to do about it? Keep fighting for your rights to pain relief!

  55. C.C. Carr says:

    I am a 54 year old male. Retired military and now disabled. I have a 3 level cervical fusion that has caused continuous pain for 10 years. I have accelerated degenerative disc disease and diagnosed fibromyalgia. I am on 75 mcg/hr fentanyl patches for the chronic pain in my neck. It barely takes the edge off and allows me some relief. I do not abuse it. I do not get high from it yet I have to see the dr every month to get it filled. I too live in Florida. I have to go to the pharmacy every month to get my months worth of patches. I must see the dr with my 9th patch on as it takes 3 days for the pharmacy to fill the script. They will not order it early or keep it on hand as they know I will be there every month. I was told when I started wearing the patch that I would be wearing them the rest of my life. So I face this same scenario every single month of my life now. I am required to replace my patch every 72 hours. There are no tolerances if one comes off early. No excuse if one comes off while swimming. As if I could possibly do that activity. No leeway whatsoever. I am not an addict or a drug seeker and if I had my choice I would rather just be pain free. I am stared at and certainly ridiculed over this but there is nothing I can do. People can go and get on welfare and spend it all on the illicit drugs of their choice at the taxpayers expense but as I have never broken the rules am treated like a fiend and a drug addict looking for a fix. This sad veteran is very proud of serving this great nation and would do it all again. I just wish doctors and pharmacists would learn that not all people on pain meds like having to use them but have had to accept this fate. And are neither abusing them or selling them either. Some of us just want to be accepted and understood.

  56. Izzy Waever says:

    You should report to the Board of Pharmacy in your state. That pharmacist not only was unethical but she violated HIPAA laws. Here is the link to file a complaint Florida. Do it…if not for your sake, for the sake of others in the future…

    http://doh.state.fl.us/mqa/enforcement/enforce_home.html

  57. Izzy Waever says:

    I would report to the Board of Pharmacy in your state. That pharmacist not only was unethical but she violated HIPAA laws. Here is the link to file a complaint Florida. Do it…if not for your sake, for the sake of others in the future…

    http://doh.state.fl.us/mqa/enforcement/enforce_home.html

  58. Ann says:

    After reading a lot of the comments here I’d like to just educate people on why it’s the pharmacist’s right to say what a patient should have when concerning medications.
    When doctor’s go to school they are only required to take one semester of pharmacology. A LOT of doctors know little to nothing about the medications they write for which is why you will always see drug reps in their offices trying to get them to give their patients their drugs. They offer expensive dinners and golf outings if the MDs will come and learn about their drugs and then give them to their patients. Once that script leaves the doctor’s office and is handed over to the pharmacist the patient is in the pharmacists hands. If the doctor has written for two drugs that could potentially hurt the patient it is the pharmacist’s fault if they fill them and the patient is hurt. Your pharmacist is the one who knows what the drugs will do to your body. Don’t get me wrong, your doctor knows about YOU, what your diagnosis is, what your history is which is why communication is soooo vitally important. It’s very important that you choose one pharmacy to fill at and try to keep all of your doctors (if you’re seeing more than one) in communication with each other and the pharmacy you’re filling with. Think about it this way: Your doctors have a certain amount of patients they see and pharmacist have ALL the patients that multiple doctors have in their practices. It’s very difficult for your pharmacist to keep up with your individual needs. Go in, talk to your pharmacist, get to know them and their techs. Fill them in on your medication history and when you can let them know how your doctor’s visits went. Utilize your right to have a consult with them. You have to pay to see your doctor and get advice, you don’t have to with your pharmacist and they are the ones who know about your medications. They are the ones responsible to catch med errors and advise your doctor if they feel he’s written for something that could hurt you or therapy that might be better for you. So, when you say, “Your doctor wrote for that why is the pharmacist denying.” it’s the pharmacist’s right to deny if they feel uncomfortable filling it. BUT, the way this pharmacist treated you was horrible and not ethical.
    I hope this helped a little. :)

  59. Ann says:

    First, let me extend my sincere empathy for your situation. No one should ever be treated the way you were. I’d like to start off by saying that I am a pharmacist and our degree that we are mandated to get is a PharmD which makes us a doctor of pharmacy. Simple way to put it: Doctors go to school to diagnose and pharmacists go to school to learn about medications. Both professions need the other to survive. That being said: If your pharmacist had a concern about your medication you were taking (which she has every right considering it is a narcotic) she should have politely told you that it would be a half hour and immediately called your MD. The problem with a lot of these situations is there is no communication between the doctors and pharmacists and one thinks their jobs are more prestigious than the other and the patient ends up suffering because of it. A lot of pharmacists think that doctors just write for anything to anyone and then it’s their license that is one the line when the patient comes to fill it at their pharmacy. Pharmacists DO have the right to refuse to fill a medication if they feel the patient is abusing it, the script is fake or something “just doesn’t seem right” BUT, there is a way to go about dealing with things. What your pharmacist did is horrible and not ethical at all.
    Now, being a pharmacist I was just on the other side of the table a few weeks back. It was 5am and I was having horrible pain behind my right ear. I ended up in the ER, looking horrible, crying and begging the RNs and ER doctors to help me diagnose it and help me with the pain. The VERY first thing the doctor said to me was, “I just want to let you know that I don’t give out opioids.” I guess I was just in so much pain that I didn’t realize what he was implying and I said that I wasn’t there for that at all. He checked my ear, no infection. Did a CT scan, nothing. He came in the room and rudely said that there was nothing wrong with me. He wrote me a script for Hydrocodone/Ibuprofen (an opioid) and sent me home…still in pain and crying. An hour later I went to see an ears, nose and throat specialist and was diagnosed with an infection in my lymph nodes. With just one glance that doctor pegged me as a drug addict and because of that he wasn’t able to do his job correctly. Had the infection gotten worse it could have gotten into my blood stream and killed me. The funny part, I work with hospice and LTC patients so I have access to ALL drugs at all times. I didn’t have to go to the ER and pay $150 fee plus whatever other bill I’ll get just to get a doctor to write me a script for a narcotic. People are too quick to judge and because of that patients suffer.
    Next time, if this happens to you, take a breath, look the person in the eye and tell them, “Look, I am a human being, not a drug addict. I am in pain and if you have an issue with a script you should contact my MD and figure this out with him/her.” And if you EVER feel like you are being treated horrible by your pharmacist again simply go to the board of pharmacy online and file a complaint. While it’s not a law to be an asshole or bitch there is a law and giving treatment and care to a patient in need.
    Sorry this has been so long. I just wanted to give my opinion from a pharmacists point of view. I’ve denied medications before because I didn’t want to lose my license but I never embarrassed a patient while doing it.
    Take care and good luck!

  60. Andrea J. says:

    I found your story Colleen on Facebook. The Publix person violated privacy law and should be sued for the damage they done to your reputation. If the doctor wrote your script wrong they could have been responsible enough to call your doctor and confirm the proper dosage. I had someone I loved who face being treated badly for his pain too. He would be prescribed medicine for pain and it would make him sleep a lot or would most times not been effective and had to go without it often. His name was Christopher. He served in U.S. Navy and in U.S Army. He was severely injured in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb that exploded and messed up his back real bad. He had multiple back surgeries and had been at times taking some of the strongest pain medicines.. He was in constant pain due to spinal damage and nerve damage. Going to doctors over time that would change or decrease his medicines… At really painful times he couldn’t take pain he would go to E. R. only to be sent home with nothing to ease the pain. You know they got their money despite him.. He had V.A. benefits.. really great insurance.. He served in U.S Army and put his life at risk like many others and was put though a lot. He had other ailments too.. P.T.S.D. was a major part in his health to deal with and others I don’t know of. Mismanagement of his care I believe shortened his life.. His health providers failed him. They made a butt load of money off him though. He suffered much.. I think most doctors don’t truely know or understand what real pain in body some feel and not educated enough to fully understand and deal with pain management and just write scripts just to get rid of people and not deal with them..

  61. Angi Whittiker says:

    I’m so sorry for all your suffering! I used to suffer like that also… one disease after another…. I had 5+ autoimmune diseases… change your diet.. reboot your system and get off grain and grocery store dairy… all these diseases are the result in todays farming practices, with GMO’s, huge amounts of nerve toxins pesticides and herbicides in record amounts. As soon as I went organic, non GMO, began juicing fruits and veggies and get meat from a local grass fed farm that also has raw dairy. 1/3 of people are allergic to todays dead dairy , 1/3 to modern wheat and all it’s isolates and 1/3 to GMO corn and all it’s isolates! Research it… don’t dismiss it… you have a long life left ahead of you.. you owe it yourself to search out all possible causes! Then you wouldn’t have to worry about that embarrassment any more! I am off all meds! Blessings!

  62. Bill H. says:

    I have been hearing situations like this for quite awhile now. I for one do not like to be questioned as though I am a “doctor shopper”, I don’t appreciate someone questioning my viability and integrity, I loath when someone judges me based on the medications I’m on, immediately taking the negative, without knowing the facts, which frankly is none of their business, I feel insulted when someone such as the pharmacist speaks to you in such a condescending, rude manner especially in front of others. What ever happened to the human factor? Is there no empathy, sympathy, understanding left? I can understand why Walgreens, for example, must varify that you are who you are with the correct perscription as there are those few idiots out there who get their kicks out of taking oxycodones. Then we have doctors who are more afraid , or should I say not trusting enough of their patients to give them the only medication that I know of that helps relieve pain. I have fibromyalgia and deterioration of my discs from my neck down. It took years to finally have the correct diagnosis. There were a few doctors who simply would not believe me; accusations that all I wanted are drugs, that I will sell them, and more unbelievable untruths. Do they not understand what that does to the patient and their mental state? Here we have someone in pain, horrific pain, going to them because of their expertise only to be knocked down and humiliated. I read a few years back that one congress person wanted to “outlaw” narcotic medications because of the rampant abuse and addictions. I also read where those who are abusing these medications are in the minority yet all of us must suffer because of these few? I have been fortunate enough that CVS has known me for years, and has never questioned me on my perscriptions. They even go out of their way to make sure that if they don’t have enough, they will either refer me to another CVS or special order them in that day so that I can have it filled the following day. We suffer enough, we have lost our independence to an extent, lost our professions, some have lost their families and partners over something that we have no control over. Why must others make it even harder to deal with when they really don’t have to. I could go on and on about my feelings toward this matter; however we all know what they are, we all in some way suffer because of this sort of treatment, and I am thrilled that there is a National Pain Report and hopefully others whereby we can be heard, give first hand knowledge of what we go through, how hard it is to live with such hardships that pain alone gives us, that it’s our bodies fighting against us. The narcotic meds are, so far, the best defense we have. I for one will not allow others who either will not listen or will not believe to look upon me as being just another “junky.”

  63. C Cramer says:

    Did you report the employee to Publix. That is harassment!
    She does not have the right to share health information about you with anyone without your permission

  64. lib says:

    I want to tell Colleen to have a doctor check her T 3 levels, she may have a thyroid issue or endocrine system issue…and stop ingesting anything with aspartame.

  65. Marilyn says:

    First Debbie needs to be fired from her job,I have worked at retail and other public jobs,and If I had treated a person like this I would have fired or sued! And then I would see that she got her ass kicked up around he neck! To say the least this makes me mad as hell!

  66. Kim Krouskop says:

    It seem like if you are one of the unlucky few to have a chronic pain issue, you are going to have this happen MORE THAN ONCE! i was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1996 at the age of 26. My main symptom is pain in my legs and hands. My disease has now progressed to the point I cannot work, I have had to move my mother into our house to help raise my children. This has been hard on our marriage.
    The worst thing that has ever happened , happened last week. I went into the er with chest pain and vomiting and difficulty breathing. Now I told the Dr. that was on I had chest pain radiating up my neck, into my armpit and numbness in my arm. Can anybody guess? Yes I was having a cardiac event. He denied me pain meds, and sent me home. That night I continued to become shorter of breath and the pain became more severe. Back to the er we go. I must have had an angel with me that day, because a cardiologist was called into see the patient next to me. So I was able to see him immediately. He thought maybe I had thrown a clot into my lungs so he ordered a CT scan. By this time I REALLY could not breathe. The CT techs were trying to calm me, saying it would just take a minute. Well as they pulled me out of the tube, I coded. My heart just stopped. Mind you I am 44 years old. i told the cardiologist who was at my side that i was seeing all this little things flying around, almost like walking into a group of gnats, except they were white, purple, and turquoise. I asked him if that should be happening , he said no then looked at the cardiac monitor and called a code and literallyl jumped up on top of me and started CPR. Having trained as a nurse before I got sick I knew the ACLS protocol and listened as he called for 1mg eli, It did nothing, he was still pounding on my chest, and the little flying things seemed to be coming closer. He called for atropine the second drug in the ACLS protocol. it got my heart going again. i then had to be intubated (tube in my throat to breathe for me) and flown by helicopter over the mountains where I live into Phoenix. I was in ICU for 4 days, had a cardiac cath that showed my arteries were clear. But my cardiac output was on at 20%. It is supposed to be round 60%. they diagnosed me with “Broken heart syndrome” or Taksubo cardiomyopathy. It is basically is a stress heart attack. It can happen to anyone who is stressed beyond the point that you can handle it. Like when you are in pain all the time.
    There is a lot more that happened, but all of it hinged on the fact that the first cardiologist had neglected to treat me as a cardiac patient just because I said i was in pain and asked for pain medication. He blew me off and sent me home. My cardiologist even said to me that if I had been admitted to the hospital that night my breathing could have been helped with oxygen, I could have made it through the night in much less pain, and I probably would not have had to be transferred by helicopter to Phoenix. Total bill, over $200,000 and counting. Just because he thought I was a drug seeker.

  67. John Gibson says:

    Hate to get political but you can thank your current president for this! On 2 February 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Leonhart for the position of DEA Administrator! I have had issues for several years getting medications having a job that had me traveling, when I could not get my medications I was forced to leave my position which left me uninsured that created more obstacles and sometimes not being able to fill medications at all! I suffer from arthritis and M.S and as recently as this last month had a pharmacist call the Dr. about a strong non narcotic medication Methrotrextate. I do not feel like the pharmacist should be trying to diagnose my condition with only one little piece of paper “the prescription”!

  68. cheryl says:

    This pharmacist violated your hepa rights. Society has deemed anyone taking pain meds a druggie. Pharmacists are abused and even murdered over narcotic pain meds daily. But that gives no one the right to treat you like dirt over getting your meds. I suffer from chronic pain too and would be devastated to be treated in such a manner. My daughter is a pharmacist and I would hope she would never make someone feel as these people made you feel. If they are unhappy with their jobs there are plenty of pharmacy jobs they can get where they never work with the public. Hold your head up high you have done nothing wrong.

  69. Lisa says:

    I sympathize with each and every one of you!! I have IC or Interstitial Cystisis and other things.It took them 3 years to diagnose me.The doctors kept giving me the run around and sending me to the obgyn saying it was a female issue. So the obgyn was the one taking care of me and giving me my pain meds. One day at my appointment she said the walgreens had called her and questioned her why she has me on the pain meds and for that long. They asked her is’nt there something else you can give her instead. The doctor told me she was so mad that they would question her. After about 3 months later I went to my appointment like usual and the doctor told me that she could no longer give me pain meds that I would have to see my primary doctor. It’s been over a year now and I live in constant pain and still have not been able to get anything for the pain. It makes me so sad and sick that pharmacist act like doctors and our treatment is in there hands. Like all of you I went to the doctor faithfully to get my scripts and never ever once asked for more. I wish I knew the answer and why no one will help me. I would not wish this disease on anyone. All I want is to be able to function and be somewhat normal as a mom and wife like I used to be and I am not a darn junkie!!! I guess it’s to much to ask for.Hoping and wishing the best for all of you.

  70. PB Woosley says:

    The bad apples who abuse prescription drugs give a bad name for all those that truly need pain medication; however, with that said, it is not up to the pharmacist to judge who needs them and who doesn’t. She needs to be FIRED. Actually, she shouldn’t even be working in this field.

  71. caitlin says:

    I…this made me cry. I am 18 with several different issues like RA, Degenerative Disc disease which in turn caused three ruptured discs at 16, chronic migraines, psuedo tumor cerebri and I am on Diamox which causes complete body pain akin to severe nueropathy, as well as being tested for fibro and Lupus. I know this feeling too well, and it hurts so bad knowing that other people are forced to undergo the scrutiny and judgement of those more fortunate not to have to be on the pain killers. I am not taking any right now and seeking… alternative methods, because my mother was an actual addict, and because of that, my doctor refuses to believe that I AM NOT HER. No one will help. I will say a prayer for you all, because honestly, you guys understand what it is like..

  72. Julie says:

    I know how you feel. I have Fibromyalgia and have suffered for years in pain, since 19 years old about, long before I was officially diagnosed. I had pain for a long time because no one wanted to diagnose me being so young. They said it was all in my head. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me and one doctor said it couldn’t Fibromyalgia because the youngest confirmed case at that time was a 29 year old. So for a long time I just dealt with it, and didn’t say anything, because all they ever made me feel like was like I was nuts. Finally in 2008 they did diagnose me though at the age of 27. I now get medication for it. Believe me. People look at me being only in my early 30′s and think some things. Unfortunately people pass judgement with no idea on what you’ve been through, are going through, or who you really are as a person. I get the looks sometimes or the attitude but you just have to smile and be nice. That’s the best way to deal with it. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to be so blatantly out to get someone. It’s just unthinkable and I pray that there is never a day that it is that bad for me. People who haven’t been there don’t realize or even fathom what some of us go through.

  73. Brenda says:

    Unfortunately I don’t think Dr.s understand chronic pain. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and chronic pain syndrome. I have been on pain meds. for a long time. I went to Missouri to stay with my son. My first appointment with the Rheumatologist I tell her I will need a script for my pain med. She looks at me and says she doesn’t prescribe narcotics and I will have to go cold turkey on a combo of non narcotic meds. she will give me. I suffered so badly I had to go back to Florida so I could get my meds. ! I also went through the Oxycodone situation where every Pharmacy claimed not to have it, even though it was a brand new drug for me and couldn’t have been too early to fill. I had to change back to my old pain med. which doesn’t help much, but at least I can get it!

  74. Karen says:

    This is such a common problem. Too common. A friend of mine tried to get one of her non-narcotic medications refilled at a Walgreens in Ellenwood, Georgia and the pharmacist not only refused to fill it but he KEPT the prescription so she couldn’t go elsewhere. She had been given a lesser milligram of a sleep medication to try. When it didn’t work, her doctor gave her a new prescription with the higher dose as she was accustomed to. The pharmacist took it upon himself to instruct her to “just take two of the lesser milligram prescription.” Though this makes sense, it is against the law, which he of all people should know. As ALL pain patients know, we are not “allowed” to take our medication as we see fit whether it is common sense or not. We are told this repeatedly. You take it exactly as prescribed on the bottle or you have “committed a felony.” So where did he get off making that decision for her without even discussing it with her doctor? Because I, too, have had to deal with years of “the look” and the worry that one day, the pharmacist may simply decide not to comply, I wrote to the FDA about their law giving pharmacists the SAME authority as a doctor. Not surprisingly, I got no reply. My spine injury doctor and I have discussed this and agree that because pharmacists do NOT have a true relationship with a patient, are not privy to all the tried and tested treatments or medications, reactions, results, personalities, likes, dislikes, life events, etc. of the patient, it is nothing short of criminal that the FDA has given these people the same authority and power as the doctors. They may know the medications but they do not know the patients. There ought to be a class action lawsuit brought against the FDA and the pharmacists for being negligent and downright reckless with people’s health and in some cases, their lives. Plus, if you want to see what kind of people the FDA has given authority over your life, look up “The Angry Pharmacist” and you’ll get a good idea. I do think that many pain patients are not helped in keeping their medications to a minimum, but it’s just not the pharmacists place to do it.

  75. Ron says:

    I too have chronic back and leg pain. I have had three back surgeries when I was in my late twenties and early thirties. I am now fifty two years old and in constant pain. My doctor understands this and tries his very best to help me out with my prescriptions. However, he told me that the Federal government has ruled that because of the amount of public citizens that do have an opioid dependency, that they (the government) have to mandate the amount that a public citizen can receive at an given time (never mind the excruciating pain that some of us have to deal with every day). The reason I have been using the term public citizen is because the ones that are controlling the issue are politicians and other government officials that never…NEVER ! have to worry about their medication amounts. They have a way around dealing with the same things that “WE THE PEOPLE” have to worry about. It is a travesty that the ones in control of the American people are such hypocrites. They bury their heads into an agenda and do everything possible to achieve it no matter who suffers. If the government did not make such a big deal about opioid dependency (or alleged opioid dependency) then pharmacists or their pharmacy techs. wouldn’t even know to act as if you or anyone else in chronic pain had an addiction (alleged addiction). If the hypocrites are so worried about public citizen health and addictions, then why is it perfectly legal for someone over the age of twenty one to go and purchase any amount of Alcohol and cigarette’s and drink and smoke themselves to death ?. This whole thing is about political popularity. If a certified doctor examines a patient and deems the patient needs a pain reliever of any kind (whether it be Oxycontin, Vicodin, Norco or even Morphine)…or Acetaminophen for that matter. It should not be the responsibility of any pharmacist or their assistant to question a patients needs. And it should especially not be the Federal Government’s business to distinguish who needs pain relief and how to get it.

  76. D. Smith says:

    I hear this story and others like it and it just infuriates me. I suffered a severe lower back injury while I was in Iraq in the U.S. Army when I was 25 years old. I am now 35, but certainly still young enough for many pharmacists and doctors to scrutinize my prescriptions or requests for medicine that will work. I have one recommendation to add to the wonderful advice and helpful experience listed above. I had trouble with some of the common retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, so I looked at some locally owned pharmacies as an option. I found a pharmacist who is just plain amazing. He understands that pain comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. He understands that you can do everything right in taking your medication and still get the runaround from insurance companies. Don’t be afraid to look at local pharmacies as an option to find a pharmacist who understands and treats you with the respect you deserve.

  77. Anthony Davais says:

    Dear Colleen, I am a chronic pain patient also and I am so sorry you were put through this. I am lucky, my Safeway Pharmacy has treated me well for the last 6 years. However, I recently had a situation that I would like to share. I had been going to the same Primary Care Provider for several years and I have been on the same pain medications for that long. One day as I was leaving my Doctors appointment the receptionist handed me an envelope. I got to my car and read it. It was announcing that my Doctor had decided to leave her practice and join the Providence system. I was devastated as I knew my insurance does not cover Providence. What to do? I started to look for other Doctors in my area with no luck. So I called my Health Insurance Company to see if they could give me a few Doctors that would accept my insurance and they did. I called and I found one. My Doctor luckily had given me postdated scripts to cover me for 2 months which was a life saver as I need these medications to function. So, I went to the appointment and told the doctor my situation, I explained I had been going to my Doctor every 30 days to get my pain med refills. The Doctor said, ” I probably won’t be able to write you scripts for Narcotics. He went on to explain that it would have to be approved my a board or committee. I had never heard of such a thing. So, he told me he could refer me to a Pain Management Clinic, and he did. So I went to that appointment and the Pain Doctor immediately wanted to decrease my dosages. I told him that I have been taking these dosages for 5 years and they have been working great. I also explained that it took over a year to get to the right dosages that would allow me to function but not put me to sleep. The Doctor didnt care, he had me sign a Pain Contract and decreased my dosage. The thirty day mark came for my next appointment for refills and the office called me and told they would have to cancel my appointment because they haven’t been able to get an approval from my Insurance company. They told me to wait for them to call. So here I sit not sure if they will be able to continue to see me, knowing that my new Primary Doctor cannot write pain pill scripts. I called and his MA told me that they put my case in front of the Board or Committee and it was DENIED. My point is, it is not only embarrassing but difficult to get pain meds for a chronic pain condition anymore. Living stressed out waiting for a phone call is not helpful with my condition but I have no choice. I don’t know what I will do if my insurance won’t cover Pain Management. I will be running out of my pain meds on the 18th of this month, the clock is ticking and I am worried. Thanks for listening.

  78. Wow, I can’t believe the number of responses I’ve gotten here since yesterday. It really makes me sad to read all your stories and know other people are being treated the way that I am. I still go through this pretty much every month. There’s always some variable to worry about going wrong.

    I really appreciate all the support and prayers. I am tearing up as I’m reading all this. i hope together we can make a difference :)

  79. Gah, Colleen, that’s rough. Were I you, I would switch physicians first and foremost because his is the kind of mistake that is unacceptable. What happens next time when he writes conflicting ‘scrips and/or you are allergic to them?

    This sort of thing happens all the time – it’s negligence in the industry because some health professionals, especially doctors, are only worried about getting paid and nothing beyond that. That being said, the pharmacist at Publix is a ****. Sorry, there is no other word for her behavior. She could have solved the issue easily and quickly by picking up the phone and confirming with the doctor’s office instead of humiliating you by calling around other pharmacies to warn them about you. That was just plain ****** on the pharmacist’s part because it is her job to confirm questionable prescriptions.

  80. Carla Teegarden says:

    I can SOOOOO relate. I have fibromyalgia. This condition is a mystery and an even bigger mystery to treat. I also have had that feeling of humiliation. From pharmacists, drs, nurses you name it. I have also had 4 knee surgeries with three replacements, spinal chord stimulator in my back (then had to be removed because of staph infection). I have degenerative disc disease in my neck and back. There is no doubt that I have been through the wringer and have pain. I did everything they told me to, suffered the embarrassment of pain management where you sign contracts, get your photo taken and drug tested like a criminal. (I have never came back with a bad drug test EVER)I have been left in emergency rooms screaming and begging to die while they closed the door on me so I wouldn’t disturb their other patients. Left to suffer and ignored. I had my primary care dr who has been treating me for close to 30 years dump me because he “didn’t know what to do for me”..He didn’t want to be bothered. Wouldn’t even look me in the eyes at my appts. After he dumped me, all of his buddies he passed me around to dumped me too.I then found out why everyone was dumping me, the hospital that my old primary care dr was associated with labeled me a drug seeker. I really do think that I suffer from PTSD because of this. I saw my old primary care at the store and had a panic attack. Pharmacists announcing my pain meds are early even when it is a brand new script. Telling me that I don’t need my medicine when the dr says I do. All of this is humiliating and degrading. Luckily I have found a new dr and she is AWESOME..she believes me. I now KNOW what a real dr..who is a healer is supposed to be. I am so glad that I ma not the only one…but sad as well cause I am not the only one…keep fighting!!!!!

  81. Michelle says:

    I would make sure those people loose their job over how they treated you! Tell everyone you know. I really do hope people like that become very ill someday so the know what they put you through.

  82. Pat D says:

    Happened to me a long time ago. Cost the pharmacist his job. Don’t be afraid to call the corporate offices. Threaten to go public, they get real cooperative. Best of luck Type 2 CRPS for over 10 years. Never quit!

  83. Judy says:

    Please except my deepest sympathy that your so young with so much pain & to many illnesses to deal with. They say “god only gives us as much as we can handle” but, sometimes I wonder how much more can you take.
    I deal with a Walgreens here in Fl. & I must say from the 3 pharmacists to technicians to most all the employees working in mine, I’m treated with so much respect every time I drop off or pick up many prescriptions & I deal with many illnesses and a severe back injury. To bad your pharmacy doesn’t have the same training. Blessings are coming your way through prayers being said for you. God Bless. :-)

  84. Annie says:

    I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I get the “look” when I go to the pharmacy. However, my pharmacy has made some mistakes (giving fast acting instead of long acting) that I haven’t made a huge deal because of how they handled it. I have had more problems with doctor’s offices. With the new laws in place (Washington State is where I am at), a lot of doctors offices do not want to deal with narcotics. Some do not have the resources to handle all the tracking and others just don’t want to deal with it. My doctor that I had been following around since 2004 moved to a different city (too far away). The practice he was at said they’d treat his patients but only certain ones. Now, I am being weaned off my meds since I haven’t found a doctor to go to. I don’t have insurance so I am pretty limited on what I can do. Hopefully, I will be able to go to a pain management clinic. Until then, I get to deal with the pain, work full time, take care of a house, and my pets. Thank goodness my kids are grown.

  85. Amy says:

    Colleen,
    I too have experienced this at Walgreens in Florida , because of my Fibro I try to spend my winter months and there I feel under suspicious watchful eyes. In NY my Pharmacist always ask me how I am feeling with great concern . I suppose the staff has watched my physical demise . I live in a very small town , I have had doctors here say to me people come in here all the time looking for meds and don’t need it . Months later I was diagnosed with Hep C the a1 virus all those crazy doctors who thought I was faking it misdiagnosed me … I can tell you this sadly for you , I really get angry when I hear a story like this one ,how dare they judge … my pharmacist was one of the only nice ones all thru my chemo and dosages .My sinuses have been out of wack this summer , I have purchased more advil cold and sinus then ever before … I send my kids sometimes …The women made the comment that there must be a meth head in the family ? excuse me my daughter said : Are you kidding me ? I can imagine her huff and when she reported this women to the CVS manager the pharmacist heard almost hit the ceiling …She could be heard raising her tone and arguing with him … She was humiliated .When she got home she said here Ma ” take your meth ” I laughed … she told me the story … Sometimes honey you need to find the humor in these mere insolences called, people , Doctors and care givers …It does not mean they are good people or even care . Feel better you are strong let this be a fire under your arse , let it boil , so that you will keep going … MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU

  86. Michele Gregory says:

    My Walgreens pharmacy has 2 Tech’s who I’ve dealt with for over 6 yrs & they are really good about getting overrides, etc., but the Pharmacist is always rude to me. I have several chronic illnesses & take multiple meds, 2 of which are narcotics. They recently put a sign in their pharmacy window stating they could refuse to fill any controlled substance med for any reason they see fit, anytime. It worries me every time I go to get my meds as I am afraid that will be the day the Pharmacist decides to deny me my meds. I don’t know why, if a dr writes the script & sees me as a patient, why is it up to the Pharmacist whether we get those meds or not? I pray each month& I worry, which stresses me out & puts me in more pain. I’m sorry any of ushave to deal with chronic pain/health issues & have to deal with people in the world who look down on us.

  87. Denise says:

    I hate that you had to go through that…I am a chronic pain patient also, I go to a mom and pop place and the pharmacist is wonderful! my problem is the pain management doctors. they act like you are lieing and you just want more…mine have given me less and less and I am angry and sore and pain filled…something has to change for the ones of us in real pain REAL PAIN! not junkies…I will pray for you….may u have a low pain day

  88. Todd says:

    I’ve had the looks and had friends and others make comments about the pain meds I have been on since 2003. As I tell all that question what about my pain meds. Walk 2 days in my shoes without them! Then come back and question why I take Norco 5 times a day. It’s amazing how quick they shut their mouths and start thinking about how bad I must really be hurting! I can’t stand when people question yet, they have never had to deal with what we go through! What’s the old saying? It’s better to be silent and thought to be a fool or to speak and be known as a fool. Many would be way better off by staying silent! So sad to hear here story! No person living with extreme pain should be treated that way! Ever!!!

  89. Crissty says:

    I can relate to the humiliation. However, mine has been from doctors. Several years ago I was diagnosed finally with fibro. Then only to go through almost a year of complete different pain in my back. My doctor at the time did not believe me when I told him something was wrong. I kept asking for him to send me to a specialist. He refused me pain meds and told me it was just my fibro. I told him I live in my body I know this is not normal. Finally, I went to my rheumatologist who ordered an MRI. He confirmed what I had thought. I had a slipped disc that was pinching nerves. He demanded my regular doctor send me to another specialist. I thought things were going to get better, but I was wrong. The pain specialist just kept giving me injections and nonnarcotic pills. I kept telling him it was not working, but he just kept insisting I needed an injection in a different spot. Finally I landed in the ER when he rushed an injection and hit the wrong nerve causing me worse pain. The hospital social worker called him and demanded to know why I was not given another appointment when I called after to tell them of the worse pain. His office made up an excuse of over booking. I finally got in to see him a month later. Barely able to stand still. He told me that I made up my condition in my head and that it was not that serious and then proceeded to tell me that the severity of my condition that he had told me was never said. Mind you my sister had gone with me to my appointments and even she stepped in and told him that was not true and that she was there when he said it. He refused to treat my pain and told me I would not be able to come back to his office until I saw a shrink because I was mentally disturbed. I was crying because of stress, frustration, and pain mind you. I switched regular doctors and she gave me some pain meds until my new MRI was done. They discovered the damage had spread to 6 other discs. Then she looked at the number of injections he had given me in a years time. It was seven and well over the limit not to cause more damage. This is when I realized he was paid for injections, but not for pain meds. My new doctor sent me to a new pain specialist who when I explained everything insisted I only needed more injections and wanted to take me off of the pain meds my doctor had put me on. I told her over my dead body would I let her touch me with a needle or take away my only relief. She then told me she needed to contact my previous pain specialist (the injector!). I told her I did not give her permission to do that and that it violate my rights. Once again I left in tears and more pain. When I went back to my doctor and told her what had happened she was appalled. She said the MRI proved it was not in my head and that she would just manage my pain until I found a good nonjudgmental specialist. She agreed with my thought that both doctors new each other and that is why I received the harsh treatment again. Mind you I am on the special diet and I do water physical therapy also. I try not to take the pills or walk with my cane even though the doctor tells me I should do it everyday. I was asked if I was drug seeking by one doctor my reply was well if you consider me pain relief seeking then I go so. Mind you I am an Army wife with a husband who deploys every other year, a mother of four, and a junior in college. I went back to school to better myself and my children’s lives. Oh and the kicker is I am a psychology major who has had to repeatedly go over the psychological aspects of drug seeking. Even my mentor and professors who know my story say I should have never been treated in such a way. They agree I do not fit the criteria for being “disturbed” or “drug seeking”. Until the medical field is held responsible in a public way for their atrocities against those with chronic pain conditions I have little faith the ignorance will stop. I am still appalled how someone who goes to school to help others can ever treat individuals this way. I am going into my field to help people not hinder their emotional, mental, or physical well being. Stand up for yourself even though it is hard and causes more pain. I did not give up and battled the ignorance for several years and finally have been blessed with an understanding doctor. When the pain is at its worst remember the biggest blessing of all at least you are still breathing and have one more day on this earth.

  90. Kay says:

    Sure addicts are the ones abusing the meds, but this is the DEA doing this. They are ones at fault, and obviously their efforts are focused on the wrong people, but it looks like they are doing something and pain patients are easy pickings.

  91. Janice Reynolds says:

    I am so sorry you have had to go through this. I know how frustrating it can be trying to get your prescription filled (and I am 64). My husband (bless him) usually picks it up for me. For those of you not aware, Walgreen’s now has a policy the pharmacist have to call your doctor courtesy of the DEA; From Walgreens:
    Our pharmacists are required to take additional steps when verifying certain prescriptions for controlled substances. This verification process may, at times, require the pharmacist to contact you…[while] information requested may vary, potential questions could include information about the diagnosis, ICD-9 code, expected length of therapy and previous medications/therapies tried and failed.” Walgreens has emphasized that this new policy should not mean calls to prescribers on every, or even most, prescriptions for controlled substances. Conversations with Walgreens officials suggest that such calls will be more likely for prescriptions involving oxycodone (both immediate-release and controlled-release), hydromorphone (both immediate-release and extended-release), and methadone.
    There have been huge problems related to this with many horror stories. There is never any justification for the harassment of people with pain.

  92. Dawn says:

    I’m a 20 year severe chronic migraine sufferer. I’ve exhausted all medicines across the board. Ones that worked once, stopped. There is nothing at this time to try new for me. I can tell everyone this is common and everyday treatment of people with. severe serious illnesses and the resulting disabilities. HIPPA laws are being violated as a result. This is actually ILLEGAL! Addicts will get what they want to abuse. Patients with serious painful illnesses and conditions wanting to work within the laws are left to suffer. Concern for deaths of addicts, over suicide and decline in health resulting in deaths of real patients????

  93. Kelli says:

    I am so happy yet sad and angry to hear that other people have the same problems I have had getting my meds. I had and still have a cardiac condition and in all the years and years that I needed massive amounts of beta-blockers I never heard boo in the medical community only sympathy that was until I said OUCH!! then the whole medical community changed. I live in Florida as well and it is awful here. I have been humiliated by both doctors and pharmacists and it is so humiliating and saddening. I have a terrible Neurological disorder (polyneuropathy) that effects so much of my body some days I have to make myself get up and go. I do not understand why the losers win and why it is that we are all looked at like druggies for meds that are prescription, they make these drugs for a reason if people really did not need them pharmaceutical comp. would not manufacture them in the quantities they do, there should not be a stigma to getting prescribed medication that is made and manufactured for one reason and one reason alone to help those people that suffer in pain.That is there illness not diabetes, high blood pressure,etc.. but anyone of many conditions that cause PAIN,pain as a major symptom. So some people got hooked on them that is unfortunate and now the true sick people are paying for there crimes but people can get addicted to anything food,sex,chocolate,alcohol,cigarettes,soda but it is only those of us that need prescribed medication from a licensed physician that get treated like crap. If an alcoholic falls of the wagon they do not treat him badly at the liquor store the sell him booze and if his family finds out they get up set and then realize that addiction is an illness and he should be treated kindly and with care and understanding that it is not him but the disease of alcoholism.Which is how they should be treated don’t get me wrong however they are not treated like crap and humiliated and looked down upon but helped and treated for there illness.I will never understand why those of us that suffer daily with pain being only one of many symptoms are treated like low rent criminals looking for a score when we are ill and should be treated with dignity and respect but there is no dignity and respect for us only humiliation and psychological pain to go along with the physical pain. It is just plain WRONG WRONG WRONG and needs to be STOPPED!! We are patients like all others and should be treated as such.

  94. Carol says:

    Colleen: In Florida, t the here doctor again. is also another way to get around what you experience. The doctor can write 3 prescriptions at once this is it for oxy codone or any other narcotics. The way it has to be done is for him to write one for you to feel that day the next one has to have a statement that says do not feel before and gives a certain date which is a month from when you get your original prescription. And the last prescription is also the same as a second but it will have a different do not feel until a different day which will take you 3 months before you need to see the pain doctor again – unless you have other problems you need to see him. My primary doctor takes care of everything except for the pain. If you see a new pain doctor or keep the same one, you might want to discuss this with him. Most pain doctors are willing to do this if you sign a contract with him and you see him only for pain medicines and you go to the same pharmacy each time. I hope this helps you out some and maybe some others as well. My doctor has done this for me after he got to know me for about 3 months with a doctors visit every month.

  95. Dorothy says:

    I have chronic pain also and it’s bad enough that we have to ask for narcotic pain meds because it makes me feel like a druggy asking for them but what a lot of people don’t understand is that it just makes the pain tolerable. I have been going to the same pharmacy for 18 years and going every month. I’ve been very lucky with them. I have gone to a CVS to get two prescriptions one a narcotic pain med and the other an antibiotic, I was just leaving urgent care and it was 10 minutes before closing and talk about rude, they refused to fill my prescription. Took them both in the next day to my regular pharmacy and had them filled. I will not go back to CVS.

  96. Lara says:

    I’m going to share this post with my local pharmacy.

  97. Lara says:

    Terrible that people struggling with health and pain issues are treated like criminals — as if there wasn’t enough to deal with already!

  98. Kay Redmon says:

    I have suffered with chronic pain since 1988 & after the initial problems with Pharmacies I did change to a local Pharmacy who were very helpful & understood the problems that people with FM & CFS have with medications.I never had any problems until recently when the Pharmacy employed a young female Pharmacist. I went in to get my prescription filled ( the laws in Australia deem that the Pharmacy must keep the scripts) & I was treated in the very same manner. She said in a very loud voice, you cannot have your script filled until to-morrow. I explained I had one tablet left for that evening & required the script to be able to take my morning dose the following day. Again in a louder voice, she stated there are very strict rules regarding narcotics, as though I was a drug addict, So I wheeled my trolley across the front of the counter, got my mobile phone out of my bag & called my Dr, using the loud speaker. My Dr said he would call the Pharmacy & he did, meanwhile I blocked the counter with my trolley, not allowing other customers to be served until I was served, being there first. She would not walk down to the counter to speak in a normal voice, preferring instead to stand up behind the dispensary & shouting all the while. What gives these people the right to treat you as if you are a common drug addict, when you have a prescription from your Dr which has been authorised by the Department of Health. If you don’t stand up for yourself these people will walk all over you & treat you like you are dirt on their shoes..She then told me she didn’t have the amount of tablets that were on my prescription & I could call back the following day & collect the rest. I refused & told her she could deliver the prescription to my home as I wasn’t able to get there the following day. It was amazing how she suddenly found another box of the required tablets.I called the owner of the Pharmacy & told him I would be taking the matter further as I had, had enough of the treatment handed out because you need these meds to find some type of relief from the never ending pain. You have enough to endure without this type of harassment, I thought those days were behind me. I am now 66 years old & don’t need this aggravation from some young smart alecks who are trying to think they have all the answers. I was very pleased to find out I wasn’t the only person singled out for this type of treatment & now this young woman has been removed from the Pharmacy. I just hope she learned a very valuable lesson from her experience & it makes her a better person for it.

  99. Colita says:

    I’m very sorry and saddened to hear how some of you are being treated. Fortunately, I am with Kaiser and fill my meds there as well, therefore I haven’t as of yet ran into that problem.

    There should be some law put into place for the harassment! It seems that the pharmacist and their assistance are overstepping not only their boundaries, but they are also infringing on the rights as well as privacy of the customers filling their prescription! No one should question the authority of a licensed physician and the ability to write a prescription for his/her patient! Loud talking you about your health in front of others goes beyond rude and is against the law.

    Something MUST be done!

  100. cyndi says:

    I know just how you feel. I have three chronic pain diseases. It requires me to take a lot of medications, two of them are narcotics. I used walgreens and had for four years. One day I went through the drive through because I can’t walk or stand very long. Got the prescription, paid, and drove home. Once home I opened the bag to fill my little weekly pill case with all my medication. But when I opened the bag, it was a tiny bottle and there was no way a 30 day prescription would fit in the bottle. I counted the medication and there was only half, yet the rx stated and circled for the full amount. I called the pharmacy and explained I didn’t get my entire prescription. I was told too bad, you took it home and could have dumped half of the rx out. They would not give me what I paid for. I explained that my medication would never even fit in the bottle you gave me. She yelled at me over the phone and I was in tears. She upset me so much I felt a panic attack coming on. I told her I am coming up there I want to speak with the manager. She then told me that all narcotic rx’s are tripple checked for acuracy. And I said well then all three of you will be reported to the DEA and I hung up.

    I drove back up there trying to wipe off my tears and security got me right as I entered the store. Took my bag of medication and took me back to the pharmacy, more humiliation. They asked me to sit, which I did and the manager came over with that look they give you. Mind you I walked into the store using a cane. The manager opened the bag finding a very small presscription bottle, then looked at all the circles and scribbles on the pill bottle and said excuse me a moment.

    The man can back out and now sat next to me. I received the biggest apoligy, and pretty much begged me not to call the authorities on them. I said, your people humiliated me without even looking at their mistake. Maybe an elderly patient would just deal with it. But as far as I am concerned, how do I know you all didn’t just slip my medications in your pocket!! The pharmasist came out and told me how sorry she was and that the blame was all on them. They wished me to continue buisness with them. So I said, if I do come back to your store like I have for 4 years, I expect no more mistakes. If something like this ever happens again, I won’t bother calling you. You’ll have the DEA storming this building and shutting down your business for review. That’s all I said and got up, and hobbled my way out of the building as my body was shacking uncontrollably. Just because THEY made the mistake. Not me. Word to the wise, open you rx bags, and verify what they give you. If they change the bottle size hand it back and ask them to recount. I do it often. Cyn

  101. Kay Washburn says:

    I dont have any problems getting my meds, but I am also 54 years old. It sounds to me that they are automatically judged you based on your age and other addicts that break the law. Either way, it is not up to them to judge, only to fill prescriptopns if you have one from your Dr. I’m no lawyer but it sounds to me like you have a lawsuit against them. I would talk to an attorney. When you have these diseases, you dont need the added stress that you had that day. I am really sorry for you, that because of some peoples ignorance, you had to suffer.

  102. Kathleen Lundman says:

    I just had almost the exactly same situation happen to me last month with the new manager of the Walgreen’s pharmacy where I had been getting two pain meds, same dosage for several years and filling them at Walgreens without any problems. Then they were “out” of one of them and it would be another 5 days. They didn’t offer to call around for me or anything. I spoke to the store manager later and she said to call the pharmacy manager and to let him know what I take every month so that they can make sure that they will have enough for me and the rest of their regular customers. So I called him the next day and tried to explain what the other manager told me to do and he cut me off and said that he made a conscious decision that he wasn’t going to worry about having enough of THOSE meds for people like me! I was shocked and also embarrassed. I went over to City Market/King Soopers store and they took it but said they would have to call the doctor for that kind of prescription, but the office was closed so I went back the next day. They had it ready and it was all good. I was so happy until I went back the next month after calling the day before to make sure that they had the number of pills that I needed. The pharmacist said that he needed to talk to the doctor because of the high number of pills prescribed for me. He also said that he needed to find out the diagnosis for my condition! I thought that the doctor’s orders were supposed to be taken care of and not questioned like this. I felt bad for my doctor having to convince this guy that I was on the same meds and dosage for years, and have been on time for doing everything else that was required by his office. He is a pain specialist and is well respected in the medical world. He’s also written three books on Pain Management. When did the pharmacist become the person to make decisions over the doctors? I sure hate living like this too, but my doctor has explained that in order to have a better quality of life, I need to take these meds to keep my pain levels under control. I’m so sorry Collene had to go through all of that and wish that we could be treated with a little dignity or respect. We are guilty before we even step up to the counter with our prescriptions! Thanks for allowing me to share my experience.

  103. Beth Stillitano says:

    I am so sorry you had to go through this – it is bad enough to live in pain, but to deal with people who are not knowledgable is extremely difficult.
    Thank goodness in the 16 years I have suffered with RSD/CRPS I have never had this particular problem.
    Wishing you some low pain days.

  104. Lisa says:

    I was a pharmacy technician before I was disabled by chronic pain. I don’t remember a single time I ever treated a person like this or my pharmacist doing so. But I know it happens. Every day. That’s why I stay with my local Mom & Pop pharmacy who knows me and my family – if I don’t fill a med when it’s due, he calls and checks in with me.

    Patients on other chronic medications like anticonvulsants, antidepressants, or blood pressure medication are never treated this way. A pain patient cannot stop their medicine cold turkey anymore than an epileptic without serious risks, yet both doctors and pharmacies often act as though going without our meds is no big deal.

    If a pharmacy does this to you, tells you that you are early, demand that they pull the last prescription (they have to keep the written copy) and prove that it’s true. They say loudly that you are early getting your meds, say loudly that you are being denied proper treatment and if you end up in the ER you’ll send the bill to the pharmacy. Ask for the manager. Make noise.

    Those who look down their noses at us treat us this way in the hope that we will go away. So just don’t go away. Stick to your guns if you know you are right. Don’t step out of the way, hold that line of customers up until they pay attention and solve the problem. That is their JOB.

  105. tere says:

    I’m sorry you had to experience the ignorance of people who do not understand or have the experience of being ill to the point where you require this type of pain management medications. Shame on all those pharmacies and the doctors who can’t find it reasonable to just do their job and have compassion. shame on them.

  106. I know exactly how you feel. I live in Central Florida, and have only just recently found a doctor and pharmacy that will fill my meds without a hassle. Walgreens has always been the better pharmacy. Although sometimes, even their pharmacists can humiliate you.

    The laws here are very stringent. Unfortunately, I understand why they are that way. A few bad apples have made it very difficult for those of us who are actually in real pain to get out medications, and I doubt the laws will ever change in our favor.

    Living in chronic pain isn’t easier, and it’s only made harder by those who assume we are “making it up,” or “It’s all in their head.” It makes you wish they could spend just 15 minutes in your shoes feeling the amount of pain you feel on a daily basis. Only someone who has chronic pain themselves can truly understand what you’re going through.

    I wish you all the best, and thank you for sharing your story. People need to be aware that this kind of thing happens more often than it should.

  107. SallyD651 says:

    I’m a chronic pain patient. I used to work for a pharmacy benefits company. I guided pharmacies through computer rejections & overrides, educated patients about benefits & procedures, etc. The pharmacy techs were the worst calls- they were generally the meanest & most dense people I had to talk to. They put so many patients through hell, & it drove me up the wall.

  108. lin says:

    My local pharmacy at Wal Mart has been wonderful when getting my script. They even call another pharmacy when they run low and arrange for me to get it there.
    They now tell me to call a few days ahead of time and they will be sure to have enough to fill my script.

  109. C. Sullivan says:

    Sound like the druggist violated HIPAA rules to me.

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  111. Terri says:

    After reading the misery that some people have to go through to get their pain meds I feel blessed that I have understanding doctors and pharmacist that make sure I never have to go without!

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