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20 October 2013

Why Walgreens now hassles you when you fill prescriptions (chronic illness series)

Some of the medicines I take are controlled substances, and the Rite-Aid near my house could not reliably obtain one of them. Two years ago, the pharmacist suggested taking that prescription to a different pharmacy so I wouldn't risk running out of needed medicine. So I started filling that prescription at a Walgreens several miles farther away. Things worked out well at first.

But recently I decided to stop going there. Even though I had been a regular customer, the pharmacist and his helpers began to look at me suspiciously and tell me to come back  in a couple days to pick the prescription up if the doctor approved it.

If? Why wouldn't the doctor approve a prescription he himself wrote? Why did I have to take another half hour plus out of my writing time to go back?

Then I noticed it wasn't just me arousing Walgreens' suspicions. As I waited in line one time, they grilled an elderly lady for several minutes and then refused outright to help her. Another time, they refused to fill a veteran's pain meds after giving him the third degree. The reason? He lived in the next town over.

Then I discovered that my friend, also named Shauna, had blogged about her own experiences with Walgreens' refusing to fill her prescriptions. (Read how Walgreens treated her here.) She switched pharmacies too.

The new hassles, it turns out, are part of Walgreens' new "Good Faith Dispensing" policy. The policy requires the pharmacist to contact your doctor when you bring in an Rx for a controlled substance or certain other meds and quiz you doctor to decide whether he or she made the right decision in prescribing the medicine for you.

Psychology Today recently posted an article on the new Walgreens policy called "Backlash Against Walgreens' Painkiller Crackdown" at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nation-in-pain/201310/backlash-against-walgreens-painkiller-crackdown.  

The American Medical Association's House of Delegates adopted a resolution about drug store intrusion into medical practice. (Look for resolution 218 (A-13) at http://bit.ly/ama2013res.)

Indiana television station WTHR investigated and discovered the secret rules governing whether Walgreens will hassle you and your doctor. Their report is here.

In short, if you have chronic pain or certain other chronic conditions, Walgreens intends to give you a hard time when you fill related prescriptions.

No other chain follows such policies, so if you have trouble with Walgreens, you can go to any other chain and expect to receive polite treatment and no delays in filling your prescription.

The American Academy of Pain Management is collecting reports from patients of problems they've had filling prescriptions at Walgreens. You can file a report at https://www.research.net/s/WalgreensGFDPolicy.

The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association is also collecting reports from people with chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia. You can participate at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N3WGGNW.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: I interview Vasant Davé, author of Trade Winds to Meluhha, here Wednesday 23 October 2013. Come back then to learn about him and his novel set in ancient Mesopotamia and India.

1 comment:

Angie said...

This is insane. :( I'm so glad I don't have serious pain issues. I can see double-checking with the doctor to make sure this is a legit prescription, and that someone didn't steal their pad or something, but if the doctor says a certain patient needs a certain medicaiton, then that should be the final word. WTF people? [sigh]

So sorry you're being harassed. I hope your new pharmacy has its head on straight on this issue.

Angie