Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Not resolved

I was hoping that someone could advise me of my options, if any. I have a Dx of Psoriatic Arthritis. I was on Humira for 6 months prior to 2013. At the start of this year, my insurance changed their acceptance for a co pay assistance plan called Humira Protection Plus. I have had the Humira script "parked" at Walgreens because I have not found a specialty pharmacy that will accept the discount plan. The last month of WI winter weather has caused a record # of severe flares. I ran out of my Tramadol, the only pain med that I take besides Diclofenac (NSAID). I am prescribed 4 a day of the 50mg. I sent in my refill request through their app for the next day. I received an email saying it was too soon to refill and I could resubmit in 3 days. This had never happened to me before. I have been on Tramadol for about a yr and have refilled it prior to running out of pills previously when I have been in picking up other meds (MTX, etc.) as too not make double trips. I called the pharmacist & explained that I have been off of Humira for the last 2 months & the weather has me in crippling pain. I asked if I could get it filled if I pay for the med instead of waiting for ins. (I regret asking this with all my being. I think that this was my downfall but I am naive when it comes to these things & it didn't even occur to me that it would come to this.) He advised me to call my dr & he couldn't fill it so soon. Not a problem. I called my dr & he gave me a free sample of Humira & some Vicodin to get me through until I could pick up the Tramadol & clear up this co pay mess. This was the FIRST time I have ever been prescribed Vicodin for arthritis. I think I got it 8 yrs ago after a root canal. I picked up the med, waited the 3 days & went to pick up my Tramadol refill. They said I couldn't get it for another 4 days. I showed them the email that they had sent me saying I could pick it up that day. The pharmacist said that they can't fill it until the bottle was completely empty while taken as prescribed. I then got a barrage of questions that made me feel like a junkie. I explained the entire situation & asked her to please look at my record to see that I don't usually refill this early & that I have an untransferred script for Humira. I said that I don't want to over medicate myself by taking a Vicodin if I am only in a Tramadol amount of pain. I explained that I didn't understand since I was trying to fill Tramadol & not Oxy. She explained to me that it is the same thing as far as overdose. She said she could call my dr and I told her to please do. I know you can OD on Tylenol pretty easily but they don't make you feel like an addict when buying it. I didn't say that, by the way. I was so confused since I didn't think Tramadol was anywhere close to a level as other narcotics & think of it more as an analgesic. If you have ever taken them you would know that it is not something that you can get a "high" off of one. I don't think any addict would be looking for it on the street.

I was furious & humiliated when I got home. I have used that same (& only) pharmacy for 10 yrs. I have had the same primary care dr for 10 yrs. I have had 2 rheumys during this time because one left for private practice. I called Walgreens HQ customer service for some answers. I was told that the pharmacist can use their own discretion on whether to fill any script & they need to make notations because the DEA is cracking down on all pharmacies. Shockingly the pieces fell into place & I asked if I am flagged now. She said yes, that I am flagged in their national company database. I asked if that flagged info is then sent to the DEA & I got contradicting answers. I explained that I could understand if I was on a huge amount of heavy narcotics but I am not & have a prior history of no problems but these were undo circumstances. She said the pharmacist has the right to flag an individual & no one can question it.

From reading a few posts, this seems to have happened to some people on pain regiments or with multiple narcotics. Has this happened to anyone trying to fill Tramadol? Is my name now put into a DEA database as a drug addict? Does this follow me if I take my business to another pharmacy? I am confused, embarrassed, humiliated and upset. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Thank you!

Product or Service Mentioned: Walgreens Pharmacist.

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My husband and I both suffer from chronic pain in various parts of our bodies. Took Tramadol with no problem until the Georgia law changed it to a scheduled drug.

Now we are looked upon as drug addicts and have been flagged in the CVS system because of a pharmacists "judgment" regardless of what my medical condition is. I'm trying to understand why I even go to a doctor if they have the privilege of deciding whether or not to fill it.


Your story is a lot like mine. I never took Humira but I have been on tramadol for 7 years.

About 10 months ago Walgreens did this to me. I had been getting it filled like clockwork and all of a sudden they refused to fill it. Even though my insurance would have paid for it. Because u have been on them for so long , without them I would go into withdrawal and that makes you very ill.

I wouldn't have berm able to work. I tried another Walgreens and they treated me the same as you. Like a junky. I was very embarrassed.

Since then I have cut down my dosage but not stopped them altogether. Btw I live in Michigan. But I'm sure this is in all states. It seems to me that Walgreens is the only pharmacy doing this.

But I could be wrong. Good luck to you.


I am having the same problem. I have a 26 year old Disabled Daughter and my Husband is taking Chemo for Colon Cancer and I have Fibromyalgia and Arthritis and Degenerative Arthritis in my spine ans Anklosing Spondilitis so I am in pretty bad pain my self we all have prescriptions for Tramadol.

I am the only one working. I have no choice I have to do what I can to support my Family. But Walgreens are now checking back several months to see how early you had it filled and if it was 1 or 2 days early they add them up and make you wait that much longer. On my 3 days off I do not want to make a trip to the Pharmacy.

Your treated like a *** head.

If they had to deal with my life they would understand needing to rest on my days off instead of going back to the Pharmacy. God Bless


Some of Walgreens pharmacists are on major head trips and they are making life for people like you and I who are already in constant pain one bigger gianormous pain in the *** on a monthly basis. No lie, no bull.


Just talk to the Dr. and get a new rx.

The pharmacist does not WANT to tell you it's too early. They hate being put in that position. But if they don't stop it from happening and someone tears up their liver or worse who do you think will be blamed? the dr.?

No the pharmacist because they will ask Why did you let them get it early over and over again? they were obviously taking more than prescribed. You should have contacted the dr. Trust me they are there whether they fill your script or not.

They would rather fill it and be done with it. They aren't sitting there thinking I want this rx to sit in my computer for 10 days they want it done and out. But they do have to use common sense and not let things out early if it's vicodin or nitroglycerin. you can take too much.

Just don't take offense of it and try to call someone from corporate because they can't do anything for you in that situation it's not their license on the line, they didn't go to school for 5 or more years like the pharmacist did. If they tell you it's too early just ask when the next fill date is. And I know people make mistakes so if it's not what you KNOW it should be, then just calmly ask them to double check. Just treat them nice and they will you.

I imagine it is embarrassing and you might start feeling defensive if someone says you can't get it, but just try to remember they don't like telling you that either. I'm also sure there are some *** pharmacist that might like treating people like that, but just don't give them a reason to ie.. early fills, or calling every month asking when your next fill date is.

I truly hope you find a specialty pharmacy that takes your discount for humira i know that stuff is expensive. Good luck to you.

@I think you got the gist

You are mistaken in many cases. I was turned down by the pharmacist.

I have had to go through withdrawals and felt like committing suicide because of seizures. Guess what, I can sue for that.... Oh but 6 days later, oh you can have them now....

I am trying to avoid going back surgery and taking heavy duty drugs like my physicians would like to do. They are play God....


Thank you for your response "Maybe". Everything you said about changing the therapy makes sense.

I didn't ask him for the Vicadin and wouldn't have known all of what you said to suggest an alternative. He gave me a small amount & I was in so much pain at the time, I wasn't going to complain. I do have to respectfully ask you what you mean by me making such a big stink about it? I obviously learned a harsh lesson in what to do if I ever run into a problem where I need a change in my therapy.

I guess you can call me very naïve when it comes to all of this. I, in no way, meant to cause a stink. I did feel attacked and felt the need to explain/defend myself but I didn't mean it disrespectfully. Please tell me how I could have better handled the situation.

I would appreciate your input. Thanks!


In some states tramadol is controlled medication. I don't know why your dr.

couldn't have given you a new rx for tramadol but taking it 2 more times a day. Or tell you to take 1 to 2 tabs so many times a day, that way it could have been a therapy change and not only would they have filled it for you, but could have gotten a therapy change override thru your insurance and they would have covered it. The dr. didn't have to go to vicodin.

But yes pharmacy's have been told to send any rx they refuse to fill to the DEA. what they do with it i'm not sure. but they have to send a copy of the script and the reason as to why they refused to fill it. then i think if the dea gets so many from the same dr./patient they investigate them.

The pharmacist was doing what they were told. If you didn't make such a stink about it, they wouldn't have had to REFUSE to fill it and send in the info.

But unfortunately they is what's expected of them now. I wouldn't worry too much about it, I'm sure there is bigger fish to fry at this time.