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I am a chronic pain patient. I see my board certified pain doctor monthly.

My RX's include a raised seal, DEA #, AND my doctor includes a diagnosis on her RX form. Walgreen's told me that it would take 2 weeks to fill my RX because they had to call the Dr.'s office to verify that my doctor wrote the RX for me. When I said "Why does that take 2 weeks", the reply was "it can take that long to catch up with the doctor". After doing some research, I discovered that Walgreens had been slapped with a large fine from the government due to some shady dispensing of narcotics at a few of their stores.

It was then that Walgreens decided to change their policy concerning narcotic Rxs. Their attitude change towards filling pain medication RXs has nothing to do with any "concerns" they pretend to have about the perceived "pain medication addiction" epidemic. It is because Walgreens got into trouble with the government, hit with a very large fine, and has decided to really put the screws down on the dispensing of narcotics. Also, pharmacist now have the ability to overwrite your doctor's decision concerning your eligibility (in the Pharmacist's eyes) as to whether your condition "merits" the narcotics prescribed by your doctor.

A pharmacist at Walmart actually called me up after I dropped off my RX and asked me to JUSTIFY why my doctor prescribed the type of, and, the amount of pain medication on my RX. Shocking, but, true.

Product or Service Mentioned: Walgreens Prescription Refill.

Reason of review: Untruthful and Unethical Pharmacy Practices.

Monetary Loss: $442.

Walgreens Cons: Unethical and rude pharmacy practices.

  • Walgreens ethical violation
  • Narcotic pain meds
  • Pain Patients
  • Walgreens Refusal To Fill Pain Rx
  • Pain Medication Pain Managemt
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Anonymous
#1201468

It does not take 2 weeks for a pharmacy to verify a script. Doctor offices get these calls often and someone on the doctor's staff will immediately confirm the script or call right back.

I wouldn't use Walgreen's. I prefer small, independently owned places myself.

LadyScot
#1202005
@Anonymous

Not always. In fact, like most pharmacies, doctor's offices are busy places. I have personally had to call doctor's offices every day to get a response on one script.

Anonymous
#1196333

At the end of your complaint you switch from Walgreens to Walmart. Where exactly were you? If you were at Walgreens why a pharmacist from Walmart call you?

Anonymous
#1198215
@Anonymous

Sorry, I should have segued better. Two separate incidents at different pharmacies.

I use only one pharmacy when in town. Both of the issues I had were from pharmacies in Jacksonville,NC, when I was visiting family. Walmart pharmacist could see my history on line from my home Walmart pharmacy. She seemed to enjoy having power.

I only went to Walgreens one time when Walmart didn't have my RX in stock. Regardless, my RX contained all the necessary information, right down to the raised seal and should not have been denied.

Anonymous
#1195389

Lady Scot - Please look up your facts before running your mouth.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/11/walgreens-drug-oxycodone-license-80-million/2412451/

Here is the article:

Walgreens has been handed the largest fine in the history of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Fine is the largest under the Controlled Substances Act Chain committed "an unprecedented number" of violations Addictive painkiller oxycodone among the drugs Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, will pay $80 million in fines to end a DEA probe into allegations it allowed millions of controlled substances, including the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone, to reach the black market.

The settlement is the largest civil penalty paid under the Controlled Substances Act in Drug Enforcement Administration history, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Tuesday. Walgreens committed "an unprecedented number" of record-keeping and dispensing violations, Ferrer said. In September, the DEA accused Walgreens of endangering public safety and barred the company from shipping oxycodone and other controlled drugs from its Jupiter, Fla., distribution center.

The distribution center was the largest supplier of oxycodone to retail pharmacies in Florida, the DEA said. "The distribution centers are the first line of defense," Ferrer said. As part of the settlement, the DEA suspended the controlled substance licenses for Walgreens' Jupiter distribution center until September 2014 and six of its Florida pharmacies until May 2014. The company has more than 800 pharmacies in Florida.

The settlement also closes similar investigation in Colorado, Michigan and New York, Ferrer said. "As the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S., we are fully committed to doing our part to prevent prescription drug abuse," Kermit Crawford, president of Walgreens' pharmacy, health and wellness division, said in a statement. "We also will continue to advocate for solutions that involve all parties – including leaders in the community, physicians, pharmacies, distributors and regulators – to play a role in finding practical solutions that combat the abuse of controlled substances and ensure patient access to critical medications. Walgreens has taken steps to enhance its ordering and inventory systems and train its employees "to ensure appropriate dispensing of controlled substances," Crawford said.

Walgreens said it expects the fine to impact its stock 4 to 6 cents per share in the third quarter. Walgreens stock (WAG) closed down 11 cents at $49.54 a share Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called abuse of prescription narcotics, particularly opioid pain relievers, an epidemic. The DEA had previously revoked controlled substances licenses for two Florida CVS pharmacies.

In October, Cardinal Health paid $34 million to settle claims it failed to report suspicious sales of painkillers. Since 2009, federal authorities have charged 51 doctors with controlled-substance violations and 192 doctors have voluntarily surrendered their DEA licenses. The DEA said Walgreens failed to maintain proper controls to ensure it did not dispense drugs to addicts and drug dealers. The DEA requires drug distributors to notify the agency of unusually large or frequent retail pharmacy orders for controlled drugs.

Ferrer called Walgreens' failure to report suspicious orders a "systemic practice that resulted in tens of thousands of violations." Six of Walgreens' Florida pharmacies ordered more than a million pills a year, the DEA said. In 2011, the average pharmacy in the U.S. ordered 73,000 oxycodone tablets a year. Pharmacists dispensed prescriptions from doctors even when Walgreens computer system flagged the doctors as problematic, Ferrer said.

One pharmacy in Fort Myers went from ordering 95,800 pills in 2009 to 2.2 million pills in 2011, the DEA said. Another pharmacy in Hudson, an area of about 34,000 people near Clearwater, purchased 2.2 million pills in 2011, the DEA said.

"Walgreens pharmacists blatantly ignored red flags," Miami field district Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville said. "National pharmaceutical chains are not exempt from following the law."Lady Scot - Please read the USA Today article

LadyScot
#1196444
@Anonymous

I actually work in a pharmacy, and know my facts very well. Walgreen may have gotten the larges fine, but many other pharmacies were slapped with million dollar fines too, for the same issue.

One of the largest being CVS, with several of their pharmacists in Florida being locked up.

Many of the doctor's writing those scripts were also jailed.

I forgive you for being an ***.

Anonymous
#1198206
@LadyScot

I think it is significant that in your comment, it was the doctors and pharmacists that were acting with criminal intent, not the patients. It is hard enough to live with unending pain without being treated like a criminal.

I deserve, as any patient does, to be treated respectfully. When a prescription is written with all the proper certification, I do not think a pharmacist, let alone a pharmacy tech, has any right to block my purchase of a prescription. It is not a pharmacist's right to ask me to justify my RX to her. That is between my doctor and me (as did Walmart pharmacist.

Yes, I mean Walmart).

I understand that there are unscrupulous people on both sides of the counter, but for a company (in this case Walgreens) to systematically obstruct, discriminate, and harass a group of people based on their medical condition is wrong. And again, that Corporate "attitude" that that I encountered at Walgreens (two weeks to fill my RX) was not based on any concern for me, but, was based on Walgreens covering their behinds as my expense.

LadyScot
#1198381
@Anonymous

Well, the fact that the patients were filling the scripts pretty much includes them in the law breaking. The reason it got so bad is that the dealers were getting the doctors to shop the scripts and the pharacists were filling them.

It pretty much came down to dollars for all of them. Then they got caught. Now all the law abiding pharmacists are being more vigilant in following the law. People get pissed about it, but in this respect the law, and the state board of pharmacy, will always back the pharmacist.

Always.

And the state board of pharmacy gives the pharmacist the legal right to question you about the reason for the drug you are asking them to fill. The state board of pharmacy gives the pharmacist the legal right to block and refuse to fill any narcotic or controlled substance for any reason. It is their legal right, and responsibility. And they take it very seriously these days with how strict the punishment is.

Let me add, that every pharmacy you take a control or a narcotic to will treat you the same with it. They will be diligent, and question you, and question your doctor. Do you have any idea how many times your pharmacist may have saved your life? Most people use the same pharmacy, but see different doctors.

Some people do not tell their doctors all of the medications they take.

But your pharmacist knows. And it is their job to make sure your doctors do not kill you.

Anonymous
#1201083
@LadyScot

I was curious and looked at your profile. Although we disagree on this subject, I appreciate that you are respectful.

It is extremely frustrating, though, to be judged by those who do not know your medical situation. A big part of the problem is the attitude and approach used by the pharmacy. Many need help with their customer service skills.

I was an outside sales rep for over 18 years before being sidelined by my accident, and so far, 10 surgeries. How you approach and speak to an upset customer can make a world of difference.

LadyScot
#1201464
@Anonymous

Thank you. My husband also takes a narcotic for chronic pain, so I feel you there.

It is frustrating. That is why we use the same pharmacist for everything. One who knows him and his record. When the laws changed regarding Vicodin and hydrocodone, it affected us too.

It was miserable. But having worked in the field for so long, I get it.

You would not believe how many people try to fill a BS narcotic. They always have some unrelated illness or injury that does not match the drug in question.

Like a broke foot with a Roxy script. Then they act like they can not understand when we question the diagnosis or the script/doctor. Sometimes, it is a no brainer. But sometimes, it is not so easy to tell the shoppers, so that is where the questioning comes in.

For example, someone new comes in, never used us before, and has a narcotic. Instant questioning. Someone comes in who has filled before, but only minor medications, with no apparent injury, but all of a sudden has a narcotic. Instant questioning.

Not only does it save a pharmacist his job, and his legal freedom, many times, it saves lives. I have seen my pharmacist question scripts that are not controlled substances. A drug interaction may be caused by the script and another drug the patient is taking, for example.

Yes, it can get frustrating. But most people, and I see it everyday, when questioned, even a simple, minor question, like why are you taking this medication, people get all irate.

Once that happens, there is a good chance, even if it is a legitimate script, that it will not get filled. The law gives pharmacists the right to refuse any script.

I always like to say there are a few places you never show out at: your pharmacy, where you eat, and the airport. I get what you mean about approach also. However, I also work this every day, and 99.9% of the time, the patient gives the attitude.

The pharmacy, however, is one of few places a person can work and not have to put up with customer abuse.

We can tell a customer to leave and refuse service without repercussions. Good luck.

Anonymous
#1201469
@Anonymous

If you read enough of her postings, you will find that she is not all that respectful.

LadyScot
#1195387

"I discovered that Walgreens had been slapped with a large fine from the government due to some shady dispensing of narcotics at a few of their stores."

They were not being shady. They trusted patients and doctors and got their hands slapped for it.

AS did many, many other pharmacies. So I am sure you can see the need to verify the script. Especially if they do not know you and you have no history with them.

Let me repeat.

Every pharmacy treats narcotics with extreme scrutiny since the DEA cracked down on them. Every.

Dang. One.

Anonymous
#1195382

So don't use walgreens