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Old 12-20-2007, 02:43 AM   #1
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My terrible pharmacy experience

After my fusion last fall, it was looking like I was going to have to remain on some type of long term narcotic pain medication. I had concerns about this as I actually work in a pharmacy and I didn't want to place myself in a potentially compromising position. I called and spoke with the director of the board of pharmacy in my state and discussed the situation with him. He said that if I was fit to return to work in all other ways, to go ahead and feel comfortable doing so. But he said to never, ever get a pain medication filled by the pharmacy I work at. He said that could be the one situation where I might be placing myself into a compromising situation and that I should just avoid it. So I started filling my pain medication prescriptions at another pharmacy in town. Since pharmacies talk back and forth with each other frequently, the staff at this other pharmacy knew who I was and where I worked. I explained to their Chief Pharmacist my situation both medically and ethically, and that to protect myself I wanted them to fill my narcotics. I also explained that I would be leaving all of the rest of my regular medications at my employer pharmacy. They seemed fine with the situation and all was well for several months.

Then a new clinic opened up in our town. Since I had been driving 30 miles to my old doctor, I decided to transfer my care to this new clinic. I went in to meet with the doctor, brought her my medical records and discussed with her my needs as a patient. She agreed to take over my care and to manage my pain medications. She had me sign a pain contract, and sent a notice to my old prescriber letting him know that she would be taking over my care. I carefully explained to the physician the fact that I use one pharmacy only for my pain medications, and then a second pharmacy for all of the rest of my medication needs because I was employed at one of the two pharmacies in question. She understood exactly why I was doing things that way and I left there to go fill my prescriptions.

Several days later I was back in the clinic to for some lab work, and the doctor approached me and said "XXX Pharmacy called to warn us that you are using two pharmacies!" I was dumbfounded! Both the doctor and the other pharmacy KNEW I was using 2 pharmacies, and I had carefully explained to them both exactly WHY I was doing so. Further more, I had explained to both that it was being done on the advice of the Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy!! I reminded her of these things and she got kinda snippy and wrote a note in my chart.

Since that day, the staff at that clinic treat me totally differently than they did before. Even though I had done nothing wrong, I had been honest with them up front, explained my need for a slightly different than usual situation, they treat me now like I'm not to be trusted and that I'm trying to pull something over on them. That pharmacist who called literally tainted the clinic's opinion of me!

So even someone who well knows how pharmacies function and is open and honest about her situation, even seeks expert advice about how to protect herself, can end up being made to feel like they are now somehow less than human and automatically a suspect just because they have a chronic need for pain medication in order to live as full and normal life as possible.

Chronic pain patients have extreamly high rates of depression. I believe that it isn't just the pain that triggers that, its all the changes in the way you are treated by the health care system. All of a suden you are treated as the lowest of the low, a virtual criminal in waiting who just hasn't been caught yet. Suddenly its everyones business to question everything you do and assume you are guilty even if you prove yourself innocent! For me, that has been the most defeating part of my back and pain issues.
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Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3
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C4-5 ACDF 2006
C3-6 ACDF 2013
Chronic Myofaschial Pain Syndrome

 
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:39 AM   #2
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

I can slightly understand your situation and believe in my opinion that you are doing everything in your power to do the right thing. Just hang in there and dont let the "system" rule your life. My experience about a year ago was the fact that I "reinjured" my back and was sent to another GP by my WC to see if my injury was new or my previous flared up or reinjured. At that time I was seeing a PM DR and I nowhere on the GP's first time PT sheet was there a spot for previous docotors, so I made it a point to explain to the GP that I was treating with a PM DR that could literally not see me for 2 months. I also showed him my 2 non narcotic RX's that was given to me by him for the last year (ultram and zanaflex). This new DR gave me valium and percocet, I believe this was waranted due to the fact that I was there in a wheelchair and could not walk literally and that my current meds did nothing to improve my mobility. As soon as I left that Dr I called my PM DR and explained to their answering machine (this is checked daily at the busy practice) that I was given these RX's. They called me back and OK'ed me to fill them. One week later after being on the "meds" I was called by the GP to come in right away , so I did, Only to be chewed out about not telling him that I had a PM DR and that he would Never again give or fill meds for me. Then that same day when I arrived home I recieved a phone call from my PM DR cancelling all my appts because I received RX's from another DR (GP called and "telled on me"). As you can imagine my feelings at this time since I followed all the rules by the book and still got screwed. At this time I have a new and wonderful PM DR whom is aware of everything and treated me regardless and told me not to worry. I hope all works out the same for you.


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Old 12-20-2007, 07:27 AM   #3
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laenini View Post
After my fusion last fall, it was looking like I was going to have to remain on some type of long term narcotic pain medication. I had concerns about this as I actually work in a pharmacy and I didn't want to place myself in a potentially compromising position. So I started filling my pain medication prescriptions at another pharmacy in town. Since pharmacies talk back and forth with each other frequently, the staff at this other pharmacy knew who I was and where I worked. I explained to their Chief Pharmacist my situation both medically and ethically, and that to protect myself I wanted them to fill my narcotics. I also explained that I would be leaving all of the rest of my regular medications at my employer pharmacy. They seemed fine with the situation and all was well for several months.

Then a new clinic opened up in our town. Since I had been driving 30 miles to my old doctor, I decided to transfer my care to this new clinic. She had me sign a pain contract

Several days later I was back in the clinic to for some lab work, and the doctor approached me and said "XXX Pharmacy called to warn us that you are using two pharmacies!"


I'm shocked to read this...Why can't someone who works in a pharmacy take narcotics? Is this a law or did you just not want your employer to know your business?
I understand if you were getting narcotics from different docs, but if all rxs are from the same doc, then how can they discuss your rx history? Are they not bound by the Hippa laws?

Did your contract say you had to use only one pharmacy for all scripts?

This is just so frustrating to me...Here you are going back to work after surgery and still in pain and you are treated like a criminal...

I really thought the only way that pharmacies could discuss your rx history was if you were using multiple docs for the same types of narcotic meds...To know that they can call other pharmacies and talk about a patients history is just shocking and wrong...If your only using one doc, there is no reason for this to happen...Even if your meds are filled a couple days early, if the same doc is giving you the rx, then the doc is aware of the last time you got your meds...There should be NO REASON that a pharmacist should be able to interfere in this way...I think it is a violation of your privacy...

 
Old 12-20-2007, 07:58 AM   #4
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

The issue with not filling any narcotic prescriptions in the pharmacy I worked in was an issue of protecting myself from accusations of diversion. Sometimes pharmacy workers who are diverting drugs for their own use do so by altering what began as a legitimate prescription for themselves. They do things like add additional unauthorized refills, count out more pills for their bottle than were actually ordered, substitute a stronger version of the drug than what the doctor had ordered, and other assorted tactics to access drugs illegally. The best way to protect myself from accusations like this is to have those kinds of prescriptions filled at another pharmacy. If I have nothing to do with filling them, I can't be accused of altering the filling process to fraudulently benefit myself.
__________________
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3
Scheuermann's Kyphosis
Severe DDD with multiple herniations and areas of stenosis, 16 affected disks!
C4-5 ACDF 2006
C3-6 ACDF 2013
Chronic Myofaschial Pain Syndrome

 
Old 12-20-2007, 10:05 AM   #5
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

Hello Laenini - 1st of all, I think it's wonderful that you've been able to go back to work after having a fusion. I'm about a year post-op from a level 1 fusion (L5-S1) and am in more pain now than b/4 surgery. Granted I did and still do have more than 1 herniated disc.

I'm sorry you've had such a difficult time with doctors and pharmacy's. I think all pain patients deal with that type of discrimination almost daily, but I can't imagine working at a pharmacy and dealing with that added stress too. It would be entirely too much for me to handle.

Some days it's too much to deal with. I'm so tired of trying to convince others that I have a legitimate problem with pain. I'm not a drug seeker. I've never taken recreational drugs. If I could snap my fingers and be pain-free I would do that in a heartbeat.

Laenini, hang in there, I find that praying keeps me somewhat sane.

 
Old 12-20-2007, 11:00 AM   #6
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

Have you ever noticed this trend...we are guilty until proven innocent. I thought it was the other way around but so much for that!!! I am sorry you are going through all of this. Hang in there.

 
Old 12-21-2007, 09:24 AM   #7
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

Hi Laenini,

I think it is a terrible that you go through so much to be accountable and do the right things and your still looked at as a "bad guy"

I can relate. I was addicted to street drugs for many many years and I am now many years into a wonderful recovery. I am very active in my recovery and I attend 12 step meetings regularly, I have a sponsor and I sponsor others.
Unfortunatly there is a lot of discrimination against narcotic pain meds and anyone associated with taking them.
My drug of choice was Methamphetamines.
That is not to say that a person could not switch drugs of choice.

Anyway I have also signed a pain contract and bring my meds to every appointment. I only get them at one pharmacy. I take them as directed and my 12 step sponsor knows what I take.

Last year around this time I seemed to have lost some friendships with other woman in 12 syep programs because either they thought my injuries were bs or they thought I was abusing my meds. Now I am really just speculationg on this. Many people in 12 srep groups feel that addicts or alcoholics in recovery should never take narcotic pain meds. I feel that is a load of *&%^&*%^&^%&3.
I have done a lot of work with my sponsor to maintain a daily repreive from addiction. I stay spiritually fit!
I would not really be comfortable with someone taking them when they have abused them and it was their drug of choice but it is an individual thing.

We as chronic pain sufferers do get a bad wrap! It is unfair yes.
I work very hard to be accountable and responsable in all areas of my life Including my health and recovery from my injuries.

Laehnini, I hope that this thing will settle down for you and after a while people associated with this issue will see that you are in fact a responsible person doing the right thing!

I will be having surgery on Jan 8th and I am hoping that it helps so that I can be off these medications with in the next 2-4 months.

I wanted to share my experience so you would know your not alone.

Judgement is an awful thing! I think that all human beings do it. I work hard to keep those kind of thoughts from festering and taking to much time in my head because when I sit in judgement of another I am just as bad as the others!
All my Best
Chrissy

 
Old 12-27-2007, 06:48 AM   #8
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

What a nightmare experience this has been for you. You probably did to much and were TO honest and there for it back fired on you... I have never had any of these problems. My pharmacy has never questioned any of my narcotics, nor have I ever felt like I was being talked about or looked down on. I have been on pain meds since 2001 and have never ever had a single problem. I guess I am just lucky. I am always shocked to hear everyones horror stories. I also don't worry about what pharmacy folks think of me nor do I feel like a lower class person or an addict. I just don't care what others think of me. I do everything right, use one pharmacy ( CVS) who has been nothing but nice to me) and one Dr and I never call early for a refill or make any waves... I hope things get better for you. It probably would have been better to not have called the head office, nor would I have told the other pharmacy why you were filling somewhere else. I would have gone to another chain far away and not have said a word to anyone. You tried to do the right things but it still raised flags for some reason. very odd.

SS

 
Old 12-27-2007, 04:37 PM   #9
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

If I were you, I would write a letter to the pharmacy manager, and explain what you did and why, and how you were treated. Hopefully that would lead to an employee meeting and some sensitivity training for those involved.

These stories are the reason we all freak out over our contracts, I have done it myself, Its terrifying that you might be cut off even after double and triple checking to make sure something is okay.

THEN we even have to worry we are making ourselves look guilty by going to every extreme to make sure everyone (doctor, nurses, pharmacy) are all on the same page!

Damned if you do, and damned if you dont. I guess we need to just keep comparing notes and trying to find the happy medium.

Happy new year, and heres to 2008 being a better year for us all.
Hugs, Fabby

 
Old 12-27-2007, 10:36 PM   #10
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Re: My terrible pharmacy experience

Here's the thing. You did do everything right, you took every precaution and got everyone on board before proceeding with anything but all it took was one person at the pharmacy to become suspicious. Why didn't you get all your scripts filled at the other pharmacy instead of the one you worked at? If you had to go there anyway and I personally wouldn't fill any prescription I had at the pharmacy that employed me. Just to keep any sort of second looks away. But that still doesn't mean you did the wrong thing but it could make things easier to just transfer everything to the 1 pharmacy. If only for looks sake so you don't ever have to go through this again. It just shows not matter what you do it just takes one person to plant the seed of doubt and can literally ruin a persons life. I am sorry this happened to you.

 
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