New York, New York
13 comments

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.

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Anonymous
#254202

While your case is indicative of the way walgreens 'pharmacists' and tech treat chronic pain sufferers it also points out the the cowards and sociopaths of the dea have inserted themselves into the doctor patient, patient pharmacist relationship! They have caused nationwide shortages of pain meds deliberately to prevent 'diversion' which is their new 'cause du jour, so they can continue to live off of honest taxpayers. They are the *** of the earth and the US version of the gestapo and kgb all rolled into one!

Anonymous
#168274

Yes Wallgreens clerks have attitude. Yes they discriminate.

I have them on tape. Pain meds produce a physical dependency not a ratty addiction. I hate these pills. I do not understand whe someone not in pain would want ot take them.

After 3 months they do no give you a buzz, they just relive the chinese water torture of constant pain. It takes 3 days of *** to get off the pills and 21 days for full withdrawl. Someone with heart or other pulmonary complications would probably die taking the hard road. One day someone will die and when they look at the pharmacy log they will see that someone special had the same script filled 10 min after the dead patient was at the pharmacy.

The DEA limits stock to prevent diversion so you have to go to a pharmacy near a emergency room, the hospital pharmacy or your local health department. The DEA itself even states that most Americans 1 in 3 are undermedicated and assures Doctors and Pharmacists that if the play by the rules they will be ok. All the stress of fighting each month to fill my scripts has caused a need for tranqulizers. Somedays I feel that if I had a AK47 I would just open up on smart *** attitudes.

They enjoy turning you down. Maybe they are jealous that they cant get thes meds for their own recreation?

Anonymous
#644788
@Rob

They have an "attitude". What kind of attitude?

It is a good attitude, cold attitude, helpful attitude, nasty attitude.

Attitude is a noun to be modified by an adjective.

Anonymous
#128052

as a "medical professional"...has someone ever walked into your establishment, jumped a counter and held a gun to your head for oxycontin?? then it's none of your business as to why they carry the amount they do.

AND No you most certainly can not get a medication such as oxycontin or anything else in a safe overnight!

Medical professional huh? doubt it

Anonymous
#82861

This is atypical treatment for chronic pain sufferers at Wallgreens. PICKET?

I'm ready to go sit on the steps of the White House and beg Obama for fair treatment for the disabled and maimed. A cop ran over me, ruined my life and I go through shear *** with everything From Pain Specialists all the way down to the pharmacy. I'm crippled, broken neck, suffer 24-7, 365 and the jailer who maimed me is now a Texas State Highway Patrollman, His daddy the constable and his whole family are cops in Montgomery County Texas. His name is Rocky Allen Anderson and he ruined my life, Sheeyat WHAT LIFE.

I spend my days writhing in pain from 4 cervical fusions, C3-C7, only 53 degenerative disk disease and draw 650 a month in social security, I once had a life, vivacious woman with a future, my family abandoned me after the cop crippled me, wallgreens, Im stuck with them, if I change pharmacies I'll have DEA AMA And the FDA up my *** so fast a cat could lick it's hiney quicker than they would have me black balled and sleeping under a bridge! I want all us disabled, skooter bound crips to picket the white house, lets UNITE and go to WASHINGTON, the lest of us, get the lest care available in the USA.

IM sick of being in pain, crippeled and bed ridden in aggony. I WANT ACTION, lets picket the white house, who's with me?

Anonymous
#59480

Welcome to the police state of medicine. Thanks to the cowards and sociopaths of the DEA pain patients must jump through so many hoops and sign their privacy away with ridiculous 'pain contracts.' Walgreens is notorious for its abysmal treatment of chronic pain patients. In the future take your prescriptions to an independent pharmacy with COMPETENT pharmacists!

jeannield
#49774

I have to say that I agree with you about the attitude in relation to pain. I have had back pain for years and I have read many articles stating that people in pain in this country are out of luck. Our doctors are not educated to treat pain or to take it seriously. You are right that pain is no differend and worse and more urgent at times than any other medical condition.

I think this list of who is taking pain medication is a invasion of prvacy. What happend here that in all other area's of the medical field you medical information is secret? The Bush administration helped push through these riduculuis laws about certain drugs they deem bad. Just like they made it legal to get information on anyone without going through legal channels it is the government that want's these lists not Walgreens. We need to write our congress person about this.

I will tell you it is not up to the pharmacy to decide what drug's to replace the one's the doctor wrote and they don't have. Your doctor fell down on the job here. When I had this happen to me my doctor had no problem in finding another medication to do the same thing. Per haps your doctor doesn't take your pain seriously either to make you find out about a alternative medication is making you do his job.

I'm so sorry for the *** you have been through. Making you withdraw without tapering you is you doctors fault as that is what one of my doctors did to me.

Anonymous
#47597

Can you spell addiction? I can't imagine ANY pharmacist discussing their stock of controlled substances with a narcotic addict.

And you are one, whether or not you admit it. The only discussion about narcotics and RXs will be between the Dr and the RPh, not with the addicted patient. Face it, you could have been on the phone with anybody, why didn't the Dr call the pharmacy? And did the technician possibly mention that your insurance declined your prescription because it was too soon after you last had it filled?

You have no idea the scams addicts will pull to get narcotics and just by reading your post, it's quite obvious why they thought your were another addict pulling another scam. Next time have your Dr call the pharmacy.

MrCustomer
#644804
@someonewhoknows

Well, for someone whose login is "someonewhoknows", you are sadly misinformed. By federal law, anyone who suffers from chronic, debilitating pain and takes pain medications to control it, cannot be classified as addicted by medical personnel. Now, common sense tells us we (and I include myself) are dependent on these drugs - just like a diabetic is dependent on insulin, and a cancer patient is dependent on chemo.

I agree this was handled poorly. But it falls to the pharmacy and the MD to be the experts in the protocols of pharmacy pain med acquisition. We as patients are not responsible to know your specific rules and regs- as you say, we are not the experts, YOU are. So why didn't they take care of his issues?

As many of these entries demonstrate, pain management patients have become non welcome in Walgreens as of late. So the logical thing to do is switch pharmacies, and perhaps work for a legal remedy that will allow us to demand the same kind of compassion and service the sufferers of other debilitating diseases require and enjoy...

Anonymous
#41486

You are not alone in being

discriminated against by Walgreens.

I've been told that my med can't

be filled until after midnight on a certain date. I show up, "Well we

won't fill it because the insurance

company isn't open at this hour"

ATTITUDE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some pharmacists will fill it, others

will not. Mississippi will not

let me take my prescriptions

elsewhere until I get new ones -

nor can I transfer them across

state lines. I'm totally ripped off

and will never use them again!!!!!!!

Anyone feel like picketing?

Anonymous
#39495

i don't know if it's just me but this seems to be about other things too. it's not their job to find you other meds and walk somewhere out of the store to get a Rx for you!

i work at a hotel and if we're sold out it's not my job to find a hotel for someone. and if you demand it of me i would be totally annoyed and pissed too. i would do it for someone NICE, if i wasn't BUSY. but it sounds like you came in w/ an additude and demanded stuff beyond their jobs and you don't expect an attitude back?

nice people get great customer service.

people who demand i kiss their feet wonder why they don't get it. it's kind a funny, really.

MrCustomer
#644808
@just someone

Who exactly are you talking about? The original poster, or the person who inserted their story on top of the original story? It's kind of confusing the way this web site organizes conversations - as in it doesn't at all, they're just popped in, one after the other...

But as to your comment, yes, pharmacy staff ARE supposed to be held to a higher standard than a hotel manager. If you've read their oath of service (I have), it states that as medical professionals, they will do their utmost to ensure the health. well being, comfort and compassion for their patients. Just a little more than the hotel business demands. They are dealing with people who are sick, hurt, and in pain. They won't be at their best, they will be at their worst, guaranteed. And yet, the pharmacist is supposed to help them anyway - that is the oath they took. If they want to rescind that oath, it's easy - just place your badge on the counter, and walk away. But they shouldn't expect to be able to dictate how their patients interact with them, as long as they are medical professionals. Imagine an ER doctor saying "I don't have to put up with this guy- he's all bloody and screaming"

At the same time, there is an expectation of civility in any situation where humans interact. I wouldn't expect a pharmacist to put up with abusive language or physical threats. But that is not what is described here.

In closing, it seems that there is a clear prejudice against pain med patients from the general public, as well as from what seems like the entire pharmaceutical community. But if you insist on calling us addicts, let's remember who our pushers are...

Anonymous
#940725
@just someone

What's really funny, is how some people get off on their "private power trip".