Walgreens - Walgreen's now plays Judge, Jury, and Doctor to fill pain medication

Walgreens Pharmacy Hostile to intractable Pain Sufferers

There’s no secret that this country has a problem with pain pills. Sure, there are those who legitimately need the prescriptions to make it through the day, but then there are many, many others who abuse these medications as they would any other illicit drug.

It may not seem illegal to offer a friend a Vicodin when she has a terrible headache, but it most certainly is.

And the government and some pharmacies are looking to crack down on unnecessary or flat-out illegal pain medication prescriptions. Unfortunately, those who legitimately need the medications are getting caught in the crossfire.

Changing Regulations

For years you could file your prescription for pain medication just as you would for anything else. You hand over the paper from your doctor and the pharmacist fills it for you and hands over the pill bottle.

Today things are a bit different. The rules of the game are changing and pharmacists are putting the pressure on patients hoping to stem the tide of excessive pain medications in the public. To get your prescription filled today, you visit your doctor, you turn in your form and then you have to wait while the pharmacy takes stock of you as a patient, calls your doctor, files the code on the form and checks the legitimacy of your claim.

For those who legitimately need the medication, this feels like an unnecessary hassle and being singled out is potentially embarrassing, especially when pharmacists take things just a bit too far.

Medical Decisions and Pharmacists

Being a pharmacist means often being misunderstood. Most of the public assumes you’re just the person behind the counter counting out pills and filling bottles. Part of the job of being a pharmacist, however, is monitoring the dispersion of medication and consulting patients on their needs and potential interactions of the medication.

When a pharmacist goes from simply filling orders to actually consulting with patients, it can put more than a few noses out of joint – especially if the patient didn’t ask for any sort of consultation.

A new pharmacist, for example, may not realize that a patient has an ongoing need for high-grade pain medication due to hip dislocation. The pain is ongoing, so the need for medication is ongoing as well. Rather than talking to the doctor once, the new pharmacist refuses to refill the medication on an ongoing basis and actually shouts at the patient about abusing the medication. In front of other customers!

In similar stories patients have had to sit in pain for hours while the pharmacists attempted to call their doctors to confirm prescriptions for pain medication. Patients have been embarrassed, targeted as potential criminals and singled out as potential junkies as they wait for the pharmacist to decide if they are allowed to have a medication their doctor prescribed.

It is certainly a controversial area of medicine, and will likely to continue to be so as the new regulations move across the country. There may be two sides to the argument, but for those chronic pain sufferers, they only know embarrassment and pain. Two things that no patient should have to experience.