People with chronic pain who try to fill scripts for narcotic analgesics are treated by Walgreens in a consistently discriminating and demeaning manner.When a narcotic isn't in stock, which is often,we are never offered the options of the pharmacist calling back the doctor for an alternative, calling another branch of their pharmacy chain to see if they may have the drug, or any other suggestions to enable the client to get their rx medicines.Diabetics, heart patients, and others routinely receive this additional, and necessary attention, but some how the chronic pain sufferer isn't considered worthy of this service.
I talk from experience. On 10/01/2008 just such an incident re-occurred. It has happened a few times before, but I never complained. This frequent bad treatment has now become intolerable.I had to prompt the csr to look and see if she had other known alternatives ( while on the phone with my Md, we gave her a few names of these medicines). I told her I would go back across the street to my MD to get the necessary script.I called my Md on my cell phone so that he could relay the correct MED and DOSE to enable the csr to check her stock expeditiously for adequate supplies. The lady had a a annoyed grimace on her face when given this request. She checked approximately 2 drugs,which were no longer covered by my insurance.Soon after, and without checking for the other 2 meds, she simply left the area on a break, or for the day without ever telling me which of the covered drugs was or wasn't in stock.However, before she left, she was given 1 more drug to check which was oxycontin. She abruptly asked me for my insurance card which she had already entered into the pc. I resubmitted it, and she almost immediately told me that my insurance was declined, and was no good.I was absolutely certain that my insurance was ok, so I immediately called my insurance company on the phone. The insurance CSR, assured me my coverage was fully active. I tried to relay this info to the walgreen's pharmacy tech, but she had already gone. She did not give her name, and was not wearing a name badge.I then talked to another tech and asked her to give my insurance rep the pharmacies direct telephone number, so that the insurer could tell the tech, that my insurance is active.In the meantime I went to feed the parking meter for the second time.
Upon my return approximately 10 minutes later, I asked the second csr if she had verified my insurance with the company. She stated, "oh I don't know". I replied, "well, can you asked around, since you did not wait for the call back?"She asked a woman who presented herself as a pharmacist, who confirmed that the insurance was active.The "so called"pharmacist turned to walk away and I told her my issues have not been dealt with. I explained that my MD and I needed to know if the meds we already discussed with the first csr are in stock ( I told her the names of those meds).The pharmacist initially went to the pc to check, but after a minute or so came back and said, she couldn't just check if medication is in stock,she would need to talk to the MD. I explained that I was not asking her to give me the med, I just needed this info, so that the MD would have the info needed to write a rx for me to resubmit for the alternative STOCKED drug. She stated "Well i need a correct dose" , I told her I knew what that was, she refused to listen. The MD was seeing patients at the time, and I didn't feel it was fair to keep interrupting him with requests for information that had already been discussed & was already known. Being a medical professional myself, I certainly know the equivalent dose, and what I have safely taken before.Besides, it was just a request for info, and nothing more.The Pharmacist ( and I'm not convinced she really is one, since she didn't know the available dosage forms of oxycontin) continued to refuse to check the available stock supply of the meds given. I have been on this medication for 4 years, and never have I had a pharmacy employee refuse to do something as simple as; to check if a drug is in stock.Unfortunately, this debate went on for too long, and since I had already spent more than 1 1/2 hours in that pharmacy, just trying to get info, I ultimately asked for my rx back and left without any info, or any medication.I am now faced with the real possibility of having to be very ill, because I don't have my medication. Its unfortunate to have to say, that Walgreen's has now joined the ranks of Rite Aide and CVS in consistently not having adequate narcotic analgesics in stock, and failing to assist or at least attempt to help the client in getting the necessary medications ,a alternative , or at least providing enough info so that the client can efficiently deal with the problem.
In my opinion, it is clearly a case of discrimination. Just before I handed in my scripts there were 2 clients that had problems getting their rx meds. Those 2 clients were assisted fully. One csr called one's MD to discuss a med change, the other was told alternatives for the initial prescribed drug. Before it was verified that the second client's drug was in stock, the csr even offered to call another branch on 14th street in NYC if those options mentioned didn't resolve the issue.
I guess you have to be a diabetic, cardiac, or cancer patient, etc to get assistance from Walgreens staff. Chronic pain sufferers obviously do not really need their medication as much as other patients. I guess in the pharmacy staff's minds, it is a small matter to go through withdrawl, which is associated with severe muscle cramps, spasms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, irritability, etc ;that is also superimposed on the already intractable chronic pain, that does not subside.The pain is obviously all in our heads and can be managed with self control, and a little will power.
I have just as much right to appropriate and physician prescribed medicines to treat my pain as the diabetic has to receive his or her insulin, or the arrhythmic cardiac patient has to receive their digoxin. Without pain control, I am virtually bed bound and unable to live anything close to a quality life. If I could do without my meds, without suffering severe, unrelieved pain, I would consider myself cured.This situation must be fixed asap. Walgreens needs to focus on giving quality, unbiased care before they contemplate expanding, and opening up more sub- quality pharmacies.If Walgreens has 1 client that routinely comes to fill a narcotic analgesic , that is all the reason they need to have adequate meds in stock at all times. Do they run out of insulin???Rarely!!And if they did, you better believe they would get it in stock in a day or so.I can get a book overnight, but a must have medication takes a week or more.In this case, they had no intentions of ordering the drug.
I await some store-wide changes in the way Walgreen pharmacies operate. My next step is to tell my attorney that he has the green light to go ahead with the preliminaries of a more than justifiable lawsuit.
Product or Service Mentioned: Walgreens Pharmacist.