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Pharmacy Problems, Denied Service

Joy_in_INJJoy_in_IN Posts: 9
edited 05/23/2016 - 8:56 PM in Pain Medications
I have been on some heavy duty pain meds and at the same dose for the last four years. I was a hospital employee and received my meds from the hospital pharmacy until I was no longer able to work and started receiving disability. I was then on my husbands insurance and started to get my scripts from [Edit]. I never had any problems filling them until last month I was shorted 10 OxyContin 80 mg tablets; so I called an alerted the pharmacy. The next time I went in to pick up a script for my husband the pharmacist met me and said they had miscounted and wasn't sure who was shorted. It was time for my narcotic scripts to be refilled and she filled the one for OxyContin but not the one for my breakthrough medicine, Percocet. She then talked to me about my dosage saying it was so high and that they didn't know how much longer they could continue to fill my pain medication because of "the DEAs box 9 rule." I returned when my Percocet was due and was told by the pharmacist on duty "that she didn't feel comfortable filling it."  I decided to wait until I was completely out and was politely told that they would fill it this one last time but they would not be able to fill any of my pain medications in the future and that it is within their rights to do so. I live in Indiana and looked up the state guidelines for pharmacists within my state and found nothing. I have called my physician who said he would talk to them but she said they still would not fill pain meds for me.  This is after getting them at this dose from them for the last two years? Am I overthinking it when I wonder if this is because I questioned them when I was shorted? 

Any my advice is appreciated.
Chronic pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Fibromyalgia, Hip Replacement Surgeries (Right/3x), Osteoarthritis, Sciatica (R), Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, and Synovial Cysts


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,241
    I am not sure if it is your primary doctor who orders your pain meds, or pain management doctor.
    My primary tried working with my pain two years before referring  me to pain management doctor.
    That was best thing for me!
    He was able to prescribe more effective treatment for my pain.

    He, also, explained to me, from the beginning, that he will be changing my medication routine every year, year and a half, to be sure med remains effective for me..that I don't become resistant, as I had few decades of life ahead to maintain pain control.

    My PM doctor has explained to me that his prescription for my daily meds re pain management is what should be holding me daily...edge of pain off.
    The breakthrough med is as needed, one tab three times a day....but not to be taken daily, only rarely.

    My PM doctor said he wants breakthrough for my extreme pain to keep me out of ER...not to be taken daily to try to function how I used to..or how I want to.

    He explained this to me when I needed refill for breakthrough med.

    Not re my my pain meds, but other meds ordered, my pharmacist has called the doctor to say the dosage was too high and he didn't want to fill at that dosage.
    Fortunately, that discussion did end up in my favor..but to say, there is so much checking and double checking, that my experience is they need to cooperate with each other.
    Not like doctor orders are followed without question any more.

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Joy, this is very interesting because there's similar issues happening in Fl. Pharmacists are pointing the finger at the DEA saying they can't fill xyz or certain amounts but the DEA says it's the pharmacy playing the game.
    Ever since the major crackdown the major distributors have been limiting what the have come in & go out. I worked at both & have seen this myself. The pharmacy is under a microscope & seeing they gave your pills to someone else,they need to point the finger to get the heat off of them. You're the easy target because of your doses. I would go higher up the chain & file grievances with the pharmacy & your insurance company. I did this & it got people moving & an apology. The name is edited but I think I know which one because this is happening A LOT within a certain chain. The out right deny filling meds & are rude. Some blatantly say the scripts are forgery just so they don't have to fill it. 
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  • Savage, 

    i was was seeing a pain management specialist up until about 4-5 years ago, when my PCP took over.  I experienced the best pain relief since my ordeal first started when I initially switched to my current medication combination. It was also nice to be seen every 90 days in comparison to the monthly visits as well as saving the $40 specialist co-pay. I am still subjected to urine testing and signed a pain management agreement. 

    My physician recently referred me to a pain management doctor who took one look at my medications and said they were too high; so he wouldn't be able to see me. It is just emotionally draining. I have contacted my physician but the pharmacy, which is part of a large grocery chain, said they still wouldn't dispense my pain meds. 

    I was treated as though my scripts were fake, then as if I was "drug-seeking."  I can see where people give up because you get so sick of being in pain and then add the stress of not being able to fill my pain meds. I guess I feel lost because I contacted the pharmacy because they shorted me and now I feel like they put a red flag on my controlled substances report. 

    I have called my doctor but I am afraid to take it up the chain because I feel like that is what got me in this mess.


    Chronic pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Fibromyalgia, Hip Replacement Surgeries (Right/3x), Osteoarthritis, Sciatica (R), Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, and Synovial Cysts
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,241
    Hello Joy......
    You were refused to be seen by pain management as he is not agreeing with your primary's dosage on meds.
    Sometimes I think individual doctors may create their own set of rules to keep them within boundaries and out of trouble re all the regulations out there.

    So it is not just the pharmacy who doesn't like the dosage your primary prescribes.

    I know it is indeed frustrating.
    Exhausting and frustrating enough to get through a day while managing and living in pain.

    Whatever is happening, you know you are in pain.
    You know your doctor wrote out your scripts.
    You know you are not a drug seeker.
    Easier said than done, but don't let anyone and their limited knowledge of your entire medical situations, allow you to feel less than.

    The professionals are disagreeing and you're caught in the middle.

    You may need to return to doctor and ask about what the next step should be.
    Ex....possibly discuss an alternative to your current meds used for your pain, as you are unable to have script filled and eventually, when your meds run out, you may be left with nothing.

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SooveritSooverit Finger Lakes region of NYPosts: 459
    Don't doctors and pharmacists understand that when you are in pain, you are in crisis? When your medications are hanging in the balance, it is a full blown crisis! 

    If you break your leg (acute pain), they will deal with your pain as an emergency. Why do they treat chronic pain so differently? As though you can just wait around indefinitely for relief? 

    If a doctor failed to treat my broken leg in a timely and appropriate manner, I would have recourse. They would take my complaint seriously  (I assume). Why, as chronic pain patients, do we feel we have no recourse when we are denied timely and appropriate care? 

    It is SO frustrating. I swear, when I get my own medical crap under control, I'm going to become a working advocate for people with chronic pain! 

    I'm so sorry, joy_in_IN! I hope this all gets worked out and you don't have a lapse in meds.

    Take care,
    Sara :) 
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  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,303
    This situation has been going on for about the past two years and honestly it is just going to be getting harder and harder.

    There are multiple reasons why this is happening:
    1. Negative press stories
    2. DEA Actions
    3. New CDC guidelines
    4. Pharmacy awareness and sensitivity
    5. Doctor awareness and sensitivity
    6. Insurance companies
    The result of all of this?   There are a lot of people that are a bit gun shy when it comes to opiates.  Much of this is valid and the controls do need to be in place, because there has been abuse.

    But on the other hand, there are so many people out there that really need their medications, their doctors approve their need, etc.
    For whatever reason, Florida seemed to have been the state in the past year that was the most difficult for people to get their prescription refills.  The bottle neck seemed to be with the pharmacies.  But many times when you start to chase down where the problem came from, it may not be the pharmacy, it may have been with the doctor, the insurance company, the new guidelines.

    Each area appears to be acting on all these 'monitors' in different ways.

    I agree that the best way to handle any individual situation is to take the problem up the management chain of the problem area (which could be multiple)  Many times that will have positive results, but that also can mean that people who really need their medications are being delayed in getting them.

    I wish there was a better way to fix all of this.

  • Well I have received my meds and am set for the next 243 days. When I spoke with my doctor he said to go ahead and find another pharmacy.  I am on my husbands insurance and it dictates where we obtain our scripts. We are able to get them where I was previously purchasing  them and at the pharmacies located in the hospital for which he works.  I have a feeling that I am unable to get them from another pharmacy in the chain where I was getting them, so Tomorrow my husband is having a test at one of the hospitals, so I will go ahead and stop by the pharmacy and speak with the pharmacist. I had gotten my pain medication from them when I first was switching to my husbands insurance and they didn't have a problem but if I was flagged in the state system it may take a call or two from my doctor. So we shall see.

    thanks for everyone's input. Once I get this settled, I am going to contact the stores management and address that issue.
    Chronic pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Fibromyalgia, Hip Replacement Surgeries (Right/3x), Osteoarthritis, Sciatica (R), Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, and Synovial Cysts
  • I'm glad you got this straightened out, Joy.

    Am I reading this correctly - "am set for the next 243 days."  If that is correct, then maybe that is where you are running into problems.  I did not think it was possible to get 243 days worth of narcotics.

    Scoliosis and other problems at every level.

    2013: C-5 to C-6 ADR
    2014: C-5 to C-6 fusion/revision of failed ADR
    2014: Total hip replacement, right

    Cancelled multi-level fusion - fear being more crippled and in more pain.
  • SooveritSooverit Finger Lakes region of NYPosts: 459
    I thought the same, treadmill. I figured it must have been a typo! As I understand it, narcotics can only be rx'd for 30 days period.

    Joy_in_IN,  can you clarify? 

  • I am also in Florida and had the same problem several months ago.  My pain management doctor called my pharmacist that I had been using for years right in front of me.  They got into a minor argument and my doctor ended up hanging up on the pharmacist.  I had a good smile about that.  I then asked my doc, "What now"?  He explained to me they had an "in-house" pharmacy and he would take care of it.  I left my scripts there with him in the office.  Later that afternoon I got a call from their pharmacist.  She told me the price of everything, asked if I wanted to pick up the scripts from the doc's office or have them delivered the next morning at no extra cost.  I requested delivery.  I've been doing it this way for 6 months and it's amazing.  No more hassles filling anything! No questions asked about dosage or anything.  If you current plan doesn't work out, ask if your doc has a similar program in place.
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