Doctors Dole and Fudin on Walgreens Opioid Dispensing Policy

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“…the AMA resolution …is specifically directed at Walgreens Corp.”
…read more here,
then PLEASE comment on this blog (or on the Drug Topics site) with your thoughts or personal experience.  If you shared your personal experience on a previous blog here, please paste it into the comments section below so all comments are in one place! THANK YOU!!!

26 thoughts on “Doctors Dole and Fudin on Walgreens Opioid Dispensing Policy

  1. Thank you doctor Fudin, it is encouraging to see healthcare professionals that actually are trying to change this mindset we live with today. I, like many of the people who have responded to this article am a CPP and have been for 7 years now. When I started to see a “pain management doctor” it was on the advice of my surgeon after a successful fusion operation for the area of my spine that caused the most pain. There were other spinal issues and a problem with nerve damage below the SI joint that my surgeon admitted could not be repaired and said that the surgery, coupled with a medication for pain would make it possible to walk, sit at a computer, or function as normal as possible without further surgery.
    This worked well, actually better than I thought it would, until the Florida attorney general (Pam Bondi) and the DEA started this narcotic witch hunt! I do understand that some doctors who ran Pill Mills needed to be stopped and were operating as “drug Dealers” but to just strangle the supply and have pharmacy techs act as the sole person who decides whether you get a prescription filled or not is an incredibly shallow attempt at correcting the problem. But even with these issues I found that Cigna would fill my scripts through a mail service and I would not need to deal with the harassment of local pharmacy’s
    This all came to an end last month because they can no longer mail narcotics to Florida. So once again I’m trying to use the local pharmacy’s and being treated like a criminal, when you can find the meds! I will be out of medications this week and other than going to the emergency room when the pain gets to the point of screaming I’m not sure what to do……… anything is better than constant pain……

    Thanks for your help
    Mark

  2. I just finished reading your article on Walgreen’s and the AMA resolution. I would like to provide an alternative perspective.

    Your article seems to indicate that Walgreens response to its DEA sanctions are “over the top”. Specifically you state that Walgreens GFD policy “…requires the gathering of medical chart information above and beyond requirements set forth by any state or federal regulations…” I am perplexed by this statement, and let me provide you with my rationale:

    1) You state just a few lines above that CFR 1306.4 “states that pharmacists have corresponding responsibility to ensure that when a prescription for a controlled substance is dispensed, the dispensing must be done for a legitimate medical purpose”. How would you propose that an ambulatory pharmacist discern this without requesting relevant clinical information, such as diagnosis? In fact, there is a precedent for this – in a LTC DRR a drug without an associated diagnosis it is by definition deemed to be inappropriately used, and drugs used for non-indicated or non-evidence based diagnoses are also deemed inappropriate. It would appear that the DEA has just “sent a shot over the bow” and informed ambulatory pharmacists that they will be held to a similar standard.
    2) You go on to question the Walgreens policy by stating that if they believed in their GFD policy their “…pharmacists would also be required to obtain routine laboratory monitoring tests prior to dispensing statins, hypoglycemic agents, and antibiotics” and you label this practice “absurd” . You proceed to question how a pharmacist might be held accountable for a prescribing omission. In fact, it is not absurd on a number of levels.
    a) The “learned intermediary doctrine” – the traditional rationale for rejecting claims that pharmacists have a duty to warn – is fast becoming an historical doctrine. State courts have rejected the learned intermediary doctrine, and have instead decided that pharmacists do have a
    general duty to warn patients. Courts are pointing to counseling laws as evidence that pharmacists have a duty to warn, holding that pharmacists have a duty to warn in specific circumstances (e.g. pharmacists have a duty to warn about known contraindications, and that pharmacists can voluntarily assume a duty to warn (e.g. advertising drug utilization review and computer warning systems may constitute assuming a duty to warn about dangerous side effects.) For example, in Happel v. Wal-Mart, the Court found pharmacists have a duty to warn. Quoting the Appellate decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held:
    [W]here defendant knew of Heidi’s allergies, where defendant knew that Toradol was contraindicated for a person with Heidi’s allergies, and where defendant knew that injury or death was substantially certain to result, defendant had an affirmative duty to disclose, either to Dr. Lorenc or to Heidi, the information that Heidi should not take Toradol.
    b) For the past 3 years the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) has been developing pharmacy performance metrics (similar to hospital CORE and physician PQR metrics). These metrics will hold ambulatory pharmacies accountable for quality metrics such as – diabetics using ACE/ARB agents.

    As I watch these trends, I find that there is more and more need for pharmacists to regularly request data from prescribers. In fact, there is an entire component of HIT dedicated to the transfer of clinical information – interoperable Continuity of Care Documents and the ONC has developed a nationwide RHIO infrastructure (similar to PBS and e-prescribing) to facilitate this transfer.

    I myself was encouraged by Walgreens actions as they are one of a few ambulatory pharmacy groups with the “critical mass” to make the pharmacists’ request of clinical information a standard of practice. They started with controls and a limited geography (you label this as “profiling”) as this was the immediate area of concern. However, if you are watching the Walgreens ACO strategy, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to see them expand their requests to other agents for diabetes and hypertension programs.

    Also, I found the AMA’s response to be typically pedantic ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you” I believe was the rallying cry for this resolution.

    Finally, I was concerned that your comments might be interpreted (even inadvertently) as advocating to limit ambulatory pharmacy’s access to clinical information.

    1. James:

      Thank you for this thought-provoking post and obviously well thought out comments! For the most part, I agree with all of your statements insofar as they relate to the expanding role of pharmacists. However, an ambulatory care pharmacist and a community dispensing pharmacist are not always one in the same, at least not in NYS. But I personally relish the day that they are! I am a staunch advocate of expanding the role of pharmacists as you probably know, and I wait with enthusiastic anticipation for the day that we are expected to do the sorts of clinical monitoring you outlined herein and be paid for it as well.

      But TODAY, the expectation of a community pharmacist is, perhaps unfortunately, that they follow the law within their regulatory scope of practice. For now, that does not include checking the sorts of things you, Dr. Doles, and I mentioned such as clinical lab monitoring, disease state monitoring, and other important items. I agree, it should, and I hope it will. But for now, I believe that only two states consider pharmacists to be providers; all of the VA’s recognize us as providers; and so does the DoD.

      If Walgreens’ intention is/was to expand the role of pharmacists, I wouldn’t expect them to pick such a “sticky” therapeutic area first…why not anticoagulation, cholesterol, hypertension. And, if they did choose these, send a “Dear Doctor” letter telling the respective PCPs that we’re requiring charts (or at least INRs) before dispensing Coumadin for example. I don’t think the concept is absurd; in fact, I think it’s great. What’s absurd is that Walgreens’ would have us believe that their pharmacists should and will take the time to do this, that they won’t be harassed for not filling RX’s within a certain timesspan and giving a certain required number of vaccines to boot.

      I am largely in favor of CDTM and wholeheartedly support pharmacist involvement as you outline.

    2. James:
      I echo Dr. Fudin’s sentiment that your comments are thought-provoking and well thought out as they relate to Walgreens Corporation (WG) and implementation of their Good Faith Dispensing (GFD) policy. I wanted to reply with a few thoughts that were, well, provoked.
      1. As stated in our editorial, I am in full agreement that dispensing pharmacists need to gather all the information possible on a patient in order to assure that the right medication is getting to the right patient at the right time. However, WG is not ensuring that this is happening. In all my personal conversations with WG pharmacists not a one knew why they were obtaining an ICD-9 code number and the vast majority of WG pharmacists did not recognize what an ICD-9 code number was. In fact in one instance the WG pharmacist refused to dispense my patient the medication I had written for until I provided an ICD-9 code number. In my frustration and in order that my patient would receive their medication, I gave the WG pharmacist my birthdate. To which they responded “thank you” and dispensed the medication. I tell this story to illustrate that WG pharmacists were never given the reason to obtain an ICD-9 code number and/or what those numbers look like. They were told to obtain the ICD-9 code number and if they could not, then reject the prescription and forward said prescription to the DEA for evaluation. Instead of expanding the role of a community pharmacist, WG has removed any ability to make a decision based on data or free will.
      2. Allow me to separate out a couple of concepts.
      a. The word “absurd” can be applied multiple, and therefore confusing ways. I agree with Dr. Fudin that if WG truly wanted to expand the role of their pharmacists’, then WG would have their pharmacists refuse to dispense warfarin unless a recent INR is available for evaluation or insulin unless a recent A1C and series of blood glucose is available. Based on my experience with WG, envisioning WG having their pharmacists involved in the above clinical activities that do not generate revenue or increase the number of prescriptions dispensed would be “absurd”. In fact as the implementation of WG GFD was occurring in my area, I discussed with a WG Regional Manager the concept of having WG pharmacists performing clinical evaluations and follow up by calling my patients that I prescribe opioid medication to in order to evaluate if they are over medicated, still having pain, taking their medications as prescribed, or having any problems/success in total. I was stunned at the answer I was given: “Why should we have our pharmacists do your work? We don’t need to be the middle man”. What I thought would be a clinical activity that would be embraced was dismissed as placing my work on their pharmacists. A response I thought was “absurd”.
      b. The concept of “prescribing by omission” was coined as a way of communicating the action of prescriptive authority by refusing to fill a prescription. Yes it is prescriptive authority in a negative sense, but prescriptive authority none the less. This may overlap with the responsibilities of Title 21 of CFR, but to my knowledge no one or court has defined if a “negative” prescriptive authority and Title 21 of CFR overlap, and if they do what specific area this is.
      3. I am an ardent supporter of increasing the clinical care scope for community pharmacists. I have been advocating for the federal recognition of pharmacists as providers and have been very active politically in local, state and national arenas. Community pharmacists are the most accessible health care resource and in the current model are significantly underutilized. I would welcome with open arms a WG model that allows and encourages their pharmacists to require more information so that those pharmacists can utilize the clinical information they obtained for better patient care; and utilize to the fullest the clinical skills they were idealistically taught in school. The WG GFD policy is not this model; the WG GFD policy is the gathering of extra information in the manner that a box can be checked and that is clinical as this model goes. As I mentioned above, no WG pharmacist I have had conversations with knew why an ICD-9 code number was required. This activity was most likely stipulated in the memorandum of agreement between the DEA and WG in 2011. DEA data has shown that “pill mill” prescribers tend to use only use one ICD-9 code for all their prescriptions. The gathering of the ICD-9 code has little to do with obtaining patient data to ensure safer medication use; it has everything to do with collecting data for the DEA to monitor. I hope this is not what WG has in mind when they discuss increased clinical activities for their pharmacists. Unfortunately, the current WG business model only reinforces the underutilization of their pharmacists and ties their pharmacists’ value to the commodity of the prescription. The salaries and bonuses of WG pharmacy managers are based on revenue which is based on the number of prescriptions dispensed. This model allows for no activity that is not tied to revenue generation.
      Thank you for your comments and the opportunity to respond. I hope in no way, shape or form were my comments construed as evidence to limit the scope of community pharmacists clinical activities, but rather as a call to limit corporate intrusion into the scope of community pharmacist activities by removing the ability to have free will for their decisions.

  3. Thank you so much for the excellent article. The criticism of Walgreens is well founded. I am a Walgreens pharmacist and have witnessed the brutal mistreatment of patients and badmouthing of honest doctors many times. I feel for you and have and am doing all I can to intervene on your behalf even to the point of being called on the carpet by a Walgreens security supervisor and to the point of being bullied by some of my coworkers (insinuating that I am complicit in some kind of enabling of drug abuse by doctors and patients). Some of your pharmacists are fighting within the system for your rights.
    Everyone should be aware that their complaints have not been ignored by Walgreens. In fact the GFD guidelines have been watered down twice albeit, reluctantly. You are having an impact even though Walgreens does not announce these watered down guidelines even to their employees. The changes do show up on the checklists and guidelines manual, though, which enables sympathetic pharmacists to reach out to those needing pain meds. . Fight on!!

    1. oh, and forgot to mention a very important tidbit. Illicit rx’s in our area have always been rare, but even so, now that GFD has been in effect our rx mgr monitors oxycodone rx volume weekly. Whenever we exceed 10 rx’s per week, suddenly our weekly oxycodone order is zero’ for at least 2 weeks. It does not matter that our patients are depending on us to provide their medications. The order is zero and our patients have to go elsewhere. They just do not seem to care at my store.

      1. Ronanoymous,
        As a former “patient/client of Walgreen’s I really appreciate your posting here. After several months of being treated poorly I pulled all of my business from Walgreen’s and told family and friends to consider doing the same. Just a short statement from me: I had been with Walgreen’s for 10 years. I knew everyone there including the manager and they were always friendly and kind. I have been with the same doctor for the same amount as well. My medications have been at the same amount and dose for the whole time with the addition of a med for blood sugar as it is a bit high. I am, IMHO, a model patient. I do not lose scripts, try to fill early or misuse my meds. I have always been courteous, patient, kind, thoughtful and never try to rush or hurry those behind the counter, I see my doctor 1x a month and used to stop to get scripts on my way back out to the country. I can only afford to go to town one day per month and that is the day I see my doc, go to the pharmacy and run errands. It is about 20 miles one way to the Walgreens I used to go to. Last spring everything started to change. Same people but they were treating me differently and started asking me to come back the next day…. Lots more went on including a violation of HIPPA which I plan to pursue. The last time I went the pharmacy technician acted rushed and flustered, she told me there was a new form I would need to fill out and started to hand it to me then pulled it back, walked over the pharmacist and asked how long I had to wait ti fill my meds, I was then told 3 days from then. BTW the other times they went ahead and filled it. I was not happy but quietly put my scripts in my pocket and told them I would not be coming back and was changing pharmacies asap. Did not even seem to phase them. Please note that I am a chronic pain patient that follows my doctors directions, signed a pain contract years ago and have been to pain specialists as well. I am thankful to have the meds I take as I stay as active as possible and have good pain control with my meds. I have fibromyalgia, serious disc problems both lumber and cervical, some arthritis , etc. I was a counselor when I was able to work so have the tools to deal with things in a professional way. This includes getting the proper information, finding resources and understanding my rights as a patient. I have spoken with my doctor, his nurse, my insurance company and all have told me I am doing nothing wrong… I say that because Walgreen’s seems intent on making people feel like they are doing something wrong by trying to fill their pain scripts. I have been an advocate for people before that were in the hospital or at the doctors so evidently there are serious problems in this system. I am happy to say I now use my small town pharmacy and although it took a couple of visits to build some trust I know feel they are doing a good job for me. I have heard the DEA is trying to control the amount of pain meds pharmacies get per month and not sure why this is all changing.
        Thank you for listening and for trying to help pain clients.

  4. I meant to make a comment earlier, but honesty, I am drained; physically, emotionally and financially from these last months dealing with a new pain mgmt dr., and trying to find a pharmacy that would even fill for him (I won’t be seeing this Dr. anymore, which I am not sure where that will leave me in the future, but I digress ).

    As for Walgreen specifically, as well as CVS, I refuse to walk a foot in their store due to the way they have been treating chronic pain patients. I did shop both those places frequently, and while I realize maybe my boycott won’t affect their bottom line, I can only hope there are many many more that also refuse to do business with a company that profiles an entire population.

    Perhaps the lack of responses, at least in my case, is by no means a sign that all is better and I don’t need or want any help from professionals or any source, etc., but exactly the opposite; we need, now more then ever, help having our voices heard, as we have been beaten down, ignored, under-treated, etc., etc., for such a long time now, that we are just literally trying to survive, one hour at a time. Yes, it may seem dramatic to say such a thing, however, when you are in pain, hour after hour, day after day, with not enough or the right kind of medication, I can honestly say I can only think about the next hour because every time I think of next week or next month, it is so overwhelming and depressing to think how in the hell am I even going to make it there? I personally am having apparently the longest bad flare, or more likely, the longest under medicated flare, I am too exhausted to even fight for myself. Maybe the pain will get itself under control, or, maybe not (yes, I am doing everything I personally can to lessen etc). I just hope that until I am able, like many others in same situation, that we can continue to have the support of the wonderful supporters. We are here, our silence isn’t a sign that all is well, just the opposite.

    Thank you again too all of you, like you Dr. Fudin and your colleagues, for your continued efforts.

    Sincerely
    E11

  5. RSD/CRPS in upper extremities for 20 long years. I’ll be brief. 62 years old, reside in Sarasota, Fl where there are 13 Walgreen stores. The last time I tried to fill a pain meds script at a Walgreens was about 6 months ago, now I do not bother. I had been a regular Walgreens customer for years, I knew all the pharmacists & we all shared a pleasant experience each time, chatting & such. After being refused with basically no reason at my most familiar Walgreens, I drove to the next, then the next, then imploded after I had driven to each of their 13 different Sarasota
    locations with no success. I was out of meds the next day after taking them for some time so I would not just be in needless pain but soon I would experience needless withdrawal. After maybe 3 stores I was driving with my knees as my hands & arms hurt so bad I could not grip the steering wheel. I was without any medication for a week, calling my Pain MD’s office everyday & bugging (thats how they made me feel) the nurses to call different pharmacies to find meds for me. Finally I found a small Mom & Pop & they have gratefully been filling my scripts since. What would I do if they closed?
    Legitimate pain patients are screwed in Florida. Pain, withdrawal, all because of the failed Nixon era War On Drugs. After 20 years of humbling pain, I am tired of fighting & hope something is done before long.
    So much for being brief.

  6. Thank you Dr. Fudin and Dr. Dole for the Drug Topic article and standing up for chronic pain patients with their pharmacy problems. This conversation is a huge one and is a serious problem for innocent patients with pain. Unfortunately, the pharmacy problems in FL isn’t just with Walgreens, it’s with most pharmacies here. I will be interviewing with WFSU in Tallahassee on Monday about updates on patients. There are still so many patients suffering from the stigma about opioids. Doctors are afraid and are cutting needed doses too severely. Pharmacies still won’t fill prescriptions. I wonder if chronic pain patients will ever have the relief they used to have. This is still out balance and not getting better. At least not FL.

    Thanks again for everything your doing.

    1. I have been having problems for months with my husband going to 4 or 5 pharmacies to fill my pain med prescription from a pain specialist doctor I have been going to for over 25 years. It’s not just Walgreens, but CVS and Neighborhood pharmacies, etc. They all say that they have NO stock. I’ve had to accept less than what my prescription calls for. Pain patients can’t be doing all this running around. We are suffering because NONE of the pharmacies have enough pain medication to fill legitimate scripts.

  7. My family and I cannot thank you gentlemen enough, we finally have people on our side to help us. Being a disabled intractable chronic pain patient who was able to function and actually able to get out of bed and take a shower once a caring Pain Management Doctor put me on the right medications, this totally changed my life! I have doctors and overwhelming proof of my condition yet Walgreen’s and many other pharmacies have flat out refused to fill my medications giving my parents and I every excuse in the book. On more than one occasion Walgreen’s was extremely rude, ugly, and yelling at us, this has humiliated my parents who were well respected retired professionals in our small community. This has all really hurt me so now I have just as much pain inside as I do on the outside. Please continue to help true, honest, chronic pain patients.

  8. I work for an independent pharmacy in upstate NY. We do dispense a fair number of controlled substances to our patients. I have found that if I make an attempt to get to know my patients, their history, I feel more comfortable dispensing narcotics to them and they are more responsive to being open to me. NYS has instituted the PMP program. This has helped me weed out some of the seekers vs the people who have a legitimate need for pain relief. I appreciate it if a patient goes to one pharmacy too and I see them on a regular basis.

    1. Bob,
      Thank you very much for sharing. It’s especially nice to hear from a community pharmacist that deals with this daily. Your approach seems reasonable,logical, and certainly makes sense from a professional standpoint and patient care perspective.

  9. Thank you so much doctors, we truly need you in our corner. I have RSD/CRPS and the exquisite pain I go through every day is not something I know how to put into words. It feels like having a “foot soak” in a vat of boiling oil. I won’t go into all the other types of pain that I have from RSD since I’m sure you both know all too well what an RSDer goes through. Anyhoo, just wanted to give you both my sincere thanks in everything and all you do for those of us that truly suffer day in and day out. Thank you. 🙂

  10. Thank you so much Dr Fudin and Dr Dole .It is wonderful to know we finally have physicians standing up for our rights. Walgreens literally has terrorized me the last 2 yrs. 5 yrs ago I was diagnosed with chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis in both hips ,knees,and hands. I tolerated 15 months of injections, steroids, non narcotic pain meds,and as my condition worsened, finally had to leave my job of 35 yrs as a licensed charter captain. I finally opted for pain management after much thought and began opoid painkillers to allieviate my suffering. I returned to my job,and began living a full and happy life again. I used Walgreens exclusively for over 3 yrs. One day almost 2 yrs ago Walgreens says “nope,cant fill this and I do not have to give you a reason why”.Mind you, I understand there are drug problems in Florida.However, I AM NOT a part of the problem !I am simply a 60 yr old homeowner, taxpayer,and registered voter. I am a college graduate. Since this ridiculous torture started I have been forced to do without my meds completely 4 times this year alone! The withdrawal is brutal and inhumane. The ping ponging emotions,the physical withdrawal have taken a huge toll on me and my condition has worsened in my opinion from stress alone. I now wouldnt go to Walgreens for a pack of gum.I hope Walgreens is made to suffer 1/10th of what they have put me through. The rudeness,judgemental comments,and most of all the lying must stop!Thank you so much Dr Fudin for being our champion.

  11. Thank You for this story. My fiance fell in a hospital in 2001, and had his SECOND spinal fusion. Let me back up though. He had his first one, at age 19 in 1975. He was paralized, had the fusion, then went to rehab for 6 months. When I met him 20 years later, he was a healthy, muscular, physically active man, with a job as a millwright. This was a very physically demanding job, but he had no problems. He did NOT take any pain meds, other than an occasional ibuprofin, and every once in a while had some minor discomfort. He was SO active it almost drove me nuts. We live in Florida, so it was to the beach, saltwater fishing, hiking, camping, antique stores, dinner out twice a week, trips to key west, and on and on. I am saying this because I don’t want people to think just because he had a spinal fusion surgery, that he decided to give up and be disabled. FAR FROM IT. BUT….In 2001 when he went in the hospital for a stomach problem, he fell and required another fusion surgery. When he woke up, he told me something was VERY wrong. He has permanent spinal cord and nerve damage. Then we found out 2 years (because the surgeon NEVER physically touched him again, and kept saying he was JUST FINE) later that he had also broken his coccyx bone, which grew back….backwards. NOW???? He can barely stand to be in his own skin. He has suffered more in the last 12 years than any human being should. We lost our beautiful home, his truck, his harley, my 300zx, and EVERYTHING else. So, if his physical pain is not bad enough, we have to worry about being homeless, or having our power turned off, or if we will have dinner. We have not gone out to dinner ….IN YEARS!!! He cries…a LOT. (yes, he takes lexapro) He really does want to die, but is scared to kill himself. If ALL THIS is not bad enough, Now he has to worry if he will be able to get the pain relief medicine he needs so badly every month. This??? IS CRUEL. He used the same Walgreens for over TEN YEARS. Then in May 2012, the normally friendly pharmacist told him she did not have the medicines, and didnt know if she EVER would. And she was very rude. And so begins what is known as the ‘pharmacy crawl’ where these patients who have a hard time taking TEN STEPS, must drive from pharmacy to pharmacy to pharmacy in search of ANYONE who would fill them. It can take DAYS. Sometimes longer. You know, it is HEART WRENCHING watching your loved one suffer SO MUCH. Especially when they ask you “What did I EVER do to deserve this? I’m a good person.” And he is…the SWEETEST man. EVER. So. Isn’t THAT ENOUGH? How much more does he have to suffer? To be able to get his meds every month now, the amounts of 2 of them were cut in HALF. Oh! and then cut in half AGAIN! I will say this again, this is CRUEL. Most people would not treat their dogs like this. He has suffered enough and just wants a little relief so he can exist untill he dies. Something needs to be done for these patients, this is a horrible, horrible nightmare. Thank You!

  12. My story is too long. Hell, my wife has to deal with the same song and dance every month. Me, I personally get my meds from a warehouse now, due to it being workers comp, but I remember just a few short years ago, the looks, the cracks, the absolute misery I went through to get my medications. The dirty filth looks from one tech. She said, “We don’t carry this anymore.’ I said, “Please ma’am, the pharmacist, I just talked to her, she said you did.” She replied, “WELL WE DON”T”. I called to the pharmacist. “Please ma’am, I need to talk to you before this woman sends me over the TOP, AGAIN!!!” The pharmacist came over and said, “Ms, (whomever) they are in the cabinet.” Well, the tech went and got them, gave them to the pharmacist to fill. Then, when she gave them to me, she TOSSED EM at me. I said, “BY GOD, NOT AGAIN”, so I dumped their vitamin bin on the floor. I was so incensed. I heard the tech was fired the next day. I didn’t see her again…………..I just took all I could stand from these uncaring, not TRAINABLE, pieces of human whatever, and left, never to return. NOW, my wife has to deal with them……………………LIke it was said, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you”,,,,,,,thanks Dr. Jeff, God bless you, and thanks for your neverending HELP!!!!! Your buddy, Herb doc Neeland,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Oh, my wife has had just about enough also………hn

  13. I get a few scripts filled at Walgreens like Andro Gel, Xologel and Desonide, reason is its convenient. But when it comes to the chronic pain medications I don’t even bother, I know Walgreens will give me some odd reason why they cant fill these scripts ,so to avoid getting annoyed I just don’t bother even asking Walgreens to fill such medications. I use the pharmacy at the location of my Pain Specialist. This to save me from getting annoyed and its worth it. I should get all my medications filled at this same pharmacy but it ends up I cant drive that far for Andro Gel.
    Its ridiculous to the point of avoiding the situation all together.

  14. Thank You Very Much for speaking out on this matter. I am aware of at least 2 patients that felt the burden of their disease, compounded by the stigma of opioid dependence and the difficulty in getting pills while their long standing prescription was being validated. The result, when they finally did get their pills, suicide.

  15. This was a fabulous article and as a patient whose experience with our long-time Walgreens pharmacist went from understanding and wonderful to dismal in just 3 years, we have taken our business elsewhere. My pain physician assured me we would be treated well by his recommended pharmacy and he was right. He and others in his profession have listened to our shock over Walgreens policies too often, I suppose, and believe me when I say at least my specialists know the name Dr. Fudin as a champion for patients like me.

    I do believe that Walgreens underestimates the fiscal damage they will undergo as we undertake to spread the word in our communities across the nation. If their bottom line is so important to them, we choose to drive farther away to avoid giving them any of our dollars…not just our pharmaceutical ones.

    Thank you again Dr. Fudin, and you, Dr. Dole, for your continued good work. I loved the quip, “don’t call us, we’ll call you!” Amen to that one, as is pertains to Walgreens! Haha!

  16. Cheers gentlemen!! That was a masterpiece. You spoke for all of us who have been wronged by Walgreens with credible and decisive voices and I can’t thank you enough for bringing light and awareness to this most sensitive issue.

    I was contacted today by the California State Board of Pharmacy. The investigator assigned to my case was responding to the formal complaint I filed online against Walgreens and the Pharmacist that outright refused to refill my long-standing prescription for Carisoprodol/Soma. His decision was based on their Good Faith Dispensing Policy.

    This is the recourse available to the patients who feel they have been wronged by this corporate giant. Everyone who has written their stories here, on my blog, and many other places, of being refused legitimate prescription fills/refills by Walgreens, must also tell their respective State Boards of Pharmacy.

    We are obviously taking our dollars to other pharmacies, and we must take the time to inform the governing Board of these insensitive, unprofessional experiences as we make a grand exodus from supporting a greedy corporation.

    I am also saddened for the innocent professionals caught in the middle of this corporate debacle. However, we must remember that it has never been the Pharmacists responsibility to perform any prescribing. Doing so by omission must be reported.

    Dr. Dole, Dr. Fudin, thank you again for bringing such great light onto a sad and dismal subject such as this. It is hard for people in pain to fight. Thanks for standing up for us who just want to try and have a quality of life, and for the good doctors who trained to do just that.

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