Pharmacist Refuses to Refill Valid Suboxone RX-Please help!
First, a little background information about myself. I have been taking Suboxone for the past 8 years, it has been a godsend for me. I was addicted to Vicodin and Percocet for a few years after tearing my ACL & MCL in a high school football game.
Bad luck on my part, but eventually I pulled myself off the ground (on my own accord) & truly learned a lot about myself , what I valued & wanted in life throughout this largely hellish ordeal.
I have been filling three prescriptions that I take (Suboxone Film Strips 2.0 2x daily, Concerta 18 mg 2x daily, & Elavil 25 mg 2-3 pills at night for sleep) for years. On both the suboxone and elavil for the past 8 years, and only filled my rx at Walgreens . As for the concerta, on it for some 4-5 years, the same dosage and have filled it exclusively at walgreens as well. I mention this to illustrate that there is an extremely clear record in the walgreens database, as it regards to me prescription history.
Over these eight years I have not once attempted to refill a prescription before insurance would cover it, I have not been "red flagged" by the FDA/DEA for any patterns that were deemed suspect, never attempted to alter a prescription or engaged in any activities that would legitimately alarm a
pharmacist/doctor/other parties etc...
I've completely abided by the doctors instructions. As for a refilling schedule, on my suboxone I have tended to refill on the 30th day, and never earlier than the 27th day( once-vacation).
Unfortunately, I recently moved from Chicago where there were numerous pharmacies that stocked suboxone, to a rural part of Illinois. The number of pharmacies that stock suboxone in my new area is extremely scarce. The local walgreens, which is my first option, constantly tells me they've ordered it, assuring me they'll have it when I need it only for me to show up on day 30 and they've not received it.
After this happening a few times to me and having to endure a few days without my suboxone and the withdrawal that ensues with that, I began to call the 5-6 Walgreens within 50 miles of my house and seeing if any had my dosage in stock. To ensure that I wouldn't have to endure withdrawal, over the past few months I have been refilling my suboxone a day early as a precaution, so 29 days into the 30 day cycle.
My insurance covers my refil when doing so, they actually told me today that they'd cover it four days early, so 26/30 days, but that's not the point.
My doctor is fully aware of this, he was the one who recommended this and made abundantly clear to walgreens that this is with this knowledge and consent.
Today, I spoke to pharmacy tech over the Walgreens hotline where she has access to the walgreens database and all the requisite information one would need to tell you where to go to fill a rx.
She informed me that "Walgreens X" would fill it, had the full quantity and all that good stuff. Although it was 40 minutes away, I had no choice but to endure the drive. Small inconvenience to endure for one's health, so no complaints really on that end.
When I got the pharmacy, I handed the new rx to the pharmacist tech, as my doctor insists on closely monitoring his patients and thus "refills" my script by giving me a new one each month and always marking 0 refills on the script.
The pharmacy tech said it would be ready in 20 minutes. 10 minutes in the actual pharmacist calls me over and says that my insurance wont cover it and therefore, she couldn't fill it. Clearly not realizing how the days of the month thing works, something that many pharmacists don't seem to get, she said that because the previous script was filled on March 17th, my insurance wouldn't fill the new script until April 17th.
Throughout this conversation she made me feel like a junkie coming off the street to fill his oxycontin script 15 days early and looking like he's clearly high. She did all of this while other customers were within hearing distance & she seemed to relish in attempting to embarrass me . Coincidentally, the 3-4
people standing behind me throughout the ordeal were shocked by her behavior & one actually told her that she should be ashamed of herself.
Since getting clean, I've graduated from both college and law school. I'm a "productive" member of society, and for someone my age, I probably couldn't look less like the stereotypical abuser. Well dressed, clean cut, and all that BS. I don't mention my "success" to brag or anything of that nature, but rather to make clear that I gave her NO reason to be concerned as it relates to my appearance/behavior.
Now after I explained the days of the month thing to the pharmacist, informing her that March contains 31 days, and that by filling the script on April 14th (yesterday) that it would be a mere ONE day early.
So finally she relented, and SUDDENLY my insurance covered the new script. So she knowingly lied to me that my insurance wouldn't cover the new script. Two different pharmacy technicians made it abundantly clear that my insurance would
cover the new script before she was handed the script to fill.
So eventually she told me ok & it would only be a few minutes. I sit back down trying not to loose my cool, and I notice her just looking at the screen and obviously analyzing my history in the database. While she's doing this she keeps making smug faces and shaking her head. Finally, she starts to actually fill the script, but only after berating me for having the audacity to fill my suboxone a mere day early, the Oh So Suspicious pattern she was clearly enamored by.
When I reminded her that this was out of necessity, and because of the constant incompetence and complete disregard for my needs by other walgreens pharmacists which had more than three times left me dope sick for three days because they couldn't do their job, she basically said tough S*** .
She finally calls me over indicating it's ready. This is when she says that my insurance would only allow her to fill 5 days worth and then after those 5 days I'd be able to return for the remainder.
Now this is is in COMPLETE contrast to what my insurance company informed me today. And quickly let me point out, that I do understand the necessity for pharmacists to protect themselves and not put themselves in a position to lose
their license. The tools that the DEA/FDA or whatever parties have installed are obviously necessary as a means of preventing drug abuse, and I'd be the
first person to agree with this.
However, its clear that this was NOT a situation where she was putting herself in any danger, as every necessary component to protect her license and thus enable her to fill the script "EARLY" were in place. As well no moral issues
were present either.
Basically, what I'm asking of anyone with the know how, is do I have any legal recourse in regards to this? Can I report her to the DEA, whether in Illinois or whatever part has jurisdiction to deal with this?
She clearly took it into her own hands whether or not to honor and fill a valid prescription, one in which she knew had been OK'd.
I've had enough with this and this woman, from my experience today, doesn't belong working in a pharmacy.
Oh and one last point, which even further strengthens my argument, is that about two months ago one of the new pharmacies that I had to resort to visit, inquired
with the Illinois DEA or whatever department, to inquire about my suboxone prescription history just as a precaution because I had never been to this particular pharmacy and the pharmacist, who was pleasant and professional, just informed me that she needed to protect herself.
I said fine, I understand, no problems. She called, was on the phone with them for a decent amount of time and they informed her that everything with my prescription history was completely legit and she happily filled the script. I also mentioned this to the pharmacist today, but she completely disregarded this. When I called back the Walgreens hotline to seek clarification, the pharmacy tech told me that the pharmacist said they didn't have more than the 5 days supply, seemingly a tell tale sign that she knows she was in the wrong and thus positioned herself to be disciplined by the DEA or whoever.
My doctor said she doesn't possess the legal authority to do this, but that it would be a good idea to seek further validation.
This was the first time in years where I had the urge to use, & I can't honestly say that I wouldn't have without knowing that it'd be futile because of the suboxone preventing any euphoria. I can't shake this & I don't want anyone else
to endure this treatment at her hands.
Please help & sorry for the length!
Last edited by CHIGUY19; 04-15-2012 at 12:08 AM.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to CHIGUY19 For This Useful Post: Knoz (05-09-2012), suboxon (07-11-2012)
Re: Pharmacist Refuses to Refill Valid Suboxone RX-Please help!
I'm with you on this. I understand fully that they must cover their *** and make sure everything is followed to the T and that because of abuse they have to check everything out but what fry's my hiney is being lied to. OK if you do not know me from adam and I bring in a script that throws up a flag, I have the right to be told by the pharmacist that as they do not know me they need to do some verification and it will take X amount of time. Or as a pharmacist is allowed to refuse to fill a script I'd rather they say I am not comfortable filling this prescription than to be told the insurance will not authorize it for another 2 days, that they are out of the medication. I of course would not be happy but I would much rather deal with the truth than be lied to and would seriously consider talking with the pharmacist supervisor or the manager in charge.
Years ago I lived in a very small town and there were maybe 5 pharmacies. I used one in a Winn Dixie. My meds needed to be special ordered and they almost always "forgot to order it". The worst was Christmas Eve and as usual they had forgotten to order it and with being both Christmas Eve and a small town, they were closing early and nothing would be open all weekend. It was about 40 minutes to closing and I had to call the other 4 pharmacies and got lucky with the hospital pharmacy but they were basically locking up as I got there. It was horrible and me leaving that Winn Dixie pharmacy in tears almost every time. As I waited for my scripts to get filled I would watch them chat and laugh with all the other customers and treated me as if I had leprocy. I told my doc about it and he said go to this other pharmacy as you do NOT deserve to be treated that way!
Re: Pharmacist Refuses to Refill Valid Suboxone RX-Please help!
Okay, well this probably isn't what you want to hear but that never really stops me. I get that the pharmacist was a jerk, and she was, but really what did you expect? You moved to podunk Illinois on suboxone, before you moved did you research your medical care? Did you check pharmacies to make sure you'd be able to get your meds locally, on time each month, without hassle...so you wouldn't have to deal with this...because that was your responsibility. When you go into a rural pharmacy for a script for Sub...irritated and using words like "Dope sick" ummm..yeah they're going to think your a drugee looking for a fix. The pharmacist knows what Sub is for, and it's only for one thing, you can clean up all you want, get educated, the whole nine yards, but your still an addict, you traded one addiction for another..now your addicted to Sub....you said it's been 8 years, is this going to be your forever drug? As for the legal action question, No, you do not have any recourse. Pharmacies are independent businesses just like any other in the good old US of A, and just like any other business they can refuse service to anyone for whatever reason they like. You can't force them to serve you. A pharmacist is not governed by a Hypocratic Oath like a Dr., they don't have to help anyone. The only action you could have taken is while you were at the store, if you really had a problem with the pharmacist you should have called the Manager over and reported the pharmacist then and there. You can't stop people from having opinions, and yes when it comes to drugs and drug addictions they're going to have negative opinions. Do we deserve it once we've gotten better? probably not, did we choose it? Yeah we did, nobody forced us to take those pills.
If your on a med like Suboxone or Methadone and you know your going to move then you should always make sure there is a pharmacist in your new town that can get the meds, keeps them in stock, is willing to work with you and make sure you do business with the same pharmacist, to keep your record nice and clear. And yeah, not everyone has to jump through those hoops for medication, but we chose our path, we abused the drugs and we get to live with the hassles as long as your addicted to anything. The easiest way to deal with it is to get clean, completely clean from everything, even the Subs.
Re: Pharmacist Refuses to Refill Valid Suboxone RX-Please help!
I,m sorry you got hassled at the drug store. The first time I went to mine to have suboxone script filled the pharmacist looked at perscription and says to me " we have been boken into four times in the past and each time they only took the pain meds " Something about it just made me feel wierd. He then filled the order. Anyways, you wrote that you been on subs. for 8 yrs. This is none of my business but don,t you think it may be time to tamper down and get off them? I,ll hopefully be off off suboxone in 5-6 more weeks, I,m tapering slowly. Good luck in whatever you do.
I dont know if the Suboxone is the same as Methadone but I dont care if your an addict or a Chronic Pain Patient...No one deserves to be treated disrespectful like that. Im on Methadone for Chronic Pain and I had to make the decision to choose this medication because since I have no large intestine long acting pain meds dont work on me, but with Methadones unique qualities it allows me to have complete pain relief. I knew Id probably get some looks and have to explain why Im on THIS medication, but it sounds to me like even you are looking down on this guy for trying to stay str8. Until you walk in someone elses shoes its hard to know what they are going thru.
The following user gives a hug of support to david1ray1: katlin09 (05-08-2012)