NATIONAL ACCESS TO PAIN MEDICATION SURVEY CONTINUES TO DRAW PARTICIPANTS
Since June 2013, more than 6,000 people have opened and taken the Access to Pain Medication survey. Below are a few of the more than 650 comments left by participants who have had difficulty getting their pain medication prescriptions filled following the recent enforcement actions by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) towards reducing illegal use, abuse, and addiction of prescription medicines. All of the survey questions are confidential, and the participants are unknown.
If you are on an opioid pain medication, it is still not too late to participate in this important survey. It is our intention to use this information to help shape a position paper from the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) regarding access to care following the many changes in the states about insurance benefits and Medicare/Medicaid. The NFMCPA believes the decisions for pain management medications belong between a patient and her/his physician. We are very concerned about people who suffer from the effects of abuse/addiction as well as the people with chronic pain conditions who need access to pain relief. Please send this information to others you may know who have had pain medications denied for fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition.
Below are comments to the end-of-survey question: "If you have had a pain prescription rejected by a pharmacy, please write a brief explanation of your experience in not being able to fill your prescription for pain medication."
I had been given permission from my dr to take a few extra doses due to an extreme flare-up, but the ins and pharmacy would not fill a couple of days early. I was unable to work because of escalating pain. They unfortunately did not offer any alternatives (calling the dr for approval, suggesting other medication, etc) I had to take to my bed in severe pain until another pharmacy agreed to contact the dr and the insurance company for approval.
Was prescribed 10 Vicodin for a dental procedure, then later in the month was prescribed Vicodin for pain. Since I used a different pharmacy that was near my doctor to get the prescription I was told I was flagged for trying to get an opiate within a month.
The pharmacist refused to fill my prescription and, when asked about it, said he thought I was receiving too many narcotics when in actuality, my doctor and I were trying different kids out for 2 weeks at a time to figure out which ones would work best for me. He even threatened to call the police. It made me feel like a druggie and less of a person. When I got home, I cried.
It happens almost every month. I am told "We are out of this medicine", over and over. The next month, the same pharmacy will be able to fill the prescriptions. then, a month later, "We're out" again. My family and I know our local pharmacists very well, and they know us. I've even seen tears in the eyes of one, as he told me he couldn't fill the prescription because he was "out of it". I know our pharmacists are being honest with us. They know that MD and RA are serious, debilitating conditions, and they are trying hard to fill their customer's pain relief prescriptions, but all tell us that the DEA has cut their orders and forced them to run out. My primary care M.D. has just stopped prescribing any pain medicines due to "pressure from the DEA". They are "on my back and I'm afraid I'll lose everything I've worked for", he told me. The doctors and pharmacists all say the same thing. The DEA is purposely causing the shortage, and intimidating doctors, pharmacists and patients. I am furious about this out of control, government agency and it's inhumane policies.
Well basically....once my doctor wrote my script wrong. I took it to a pharm. and they called me up in front of many people from my community and proceeded to tell me I was early and trying to scam the system because I'm an addict. I then looked at the script and realized the mistake right away and pointed it out to her. She then told me I was lying and sent me away. Then she called EVERY pharmacy in the area and let them know I was coming and some kind of scammer\addict. Which couldn't be farther from the truth. This pharmacist was trying to really mess things up for me and I've never been anything but nice. I follow all the rules and NEVER go early. I have a very serious condition and to be treated this way is UNJUST and UNFAIR!! Something needs to change!! There have been many times where I've been forced to withdraw off my meds just because a pharmacy...not my doctor. That's what's crazy! If my doctor decided I need a medicine, then I do. Period. The withdrawing is horrible and makes me sicker every time I have to go through it. It's torture. And mentally it's torture because I always have to worry what will happen this month....?
I was trying to fill script and was told by about 12 pharmacies that they didnt have any opiods in stock or that the doc was not in the 5 mile radius. It took about 7 days of driving around in pain to find a pharmacy that would take care of me. It was a horrible experience. Also I was put on some black list because I swore in conversation with one pharmacist. Could not fill scrips at Walgreens for 3 months. I felt degraded and humiliated and I went thru withdrawals and it was just awful. My pain got worse and it took awhile to get it back on track.
In the Tampa area a person routinely must attempt to fill prescriptions at numerous pharmacies monthly, there is a broad spectrum of excuses, the normal excuse is that they are out do to an inability get same from distributor due to DEA interference. Fortunately, I have a client whom I did a divorce for, he is a pharmacist, I now am able to fill my prescription; however, I know of people who must go to multiple pharmacy for weeks on end in an effort to fill medication due to the shortage caused by the DEA. A patient at the doctor's ofice told me he had filled just the day before his appointment, which means he went out every day for 29 days, and the pharmacist told him "you basically hit the lottery, we actually have it in stock."