Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

The pharmacist eyes you suspiciously, and suddenly you wished you had shaved earlier this morning... your second-grade teacher is in line behind you, talking to your girlfriends mother... as the pharmacist yells for all to hear, 'I'm sick of YOU PEOPLE-- and I'm not filling this for you anymore!' Or your doctor, after increasing your pain meds for years, suddenly treats you like a criminal...
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mpa10
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Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

**Yesterday this happened and this is my complaint I filled out .... update is below

I had an issue filling my prescription for the first time in awhile at Walgreens.
Below is what I stated in my complaint and the follow-up is after....
I have been filling Suboxone prescriptions from the same doctor at the same Walgreens for years (6 years). I also have health insurance and use it when filling prescriptions. I dropped my prescription off around 2 pm and I am told it will be ready at 6 pm. I go back to pick it up around 8:30 pm and the pharmacist tells me that I can no longer fill this prescription at Walgreens. I asked her why and she would not tell me. I told her I was confused because I have been filling this rx here for years, and she again says she can’t fill it, and refused to tell me why. It doesn't make sense to me at all. I take my medication as prescribed, use insurance, and I don't fill prior to the fill date. I saw my doctor yesterday, and I undergo random drug testing. The reason I am upset by this is because I feel I am being judged and denied medication due to discrimination. I have Florida Blue insurance and can only fill prescriptions at certain pharmacies. I have also been going to this Walgreens for years! I wanted to reach out to you to give you an opportunity to address this. I plan to file complaints as I have read your GFD policy and do not meet any of the criteria (I was confused by what happened and looked up information on google and found this). I was NOT told by the pharmacist that it had anything to do with the GFD. I wasn't told anything other than I was not able to fill the medication with Walgreens. Also, why was my prescription taken, written on, and why was I not notified about any potential issues this pharmacist had? For your information, the medication was from the same prescribing doctor I have had for years, and the amount did not change.

**Update::
I went to my doctors office today and explained the situation. He was also confused because the pharmacist didn’t even try calling him.
He called Walgreens and they said I could fill my prescription and there wasn’t an issue.
I go to my walgreens and apparently the first pharmacists left a note saying she denied the prescription. This time it was the pharmacists manager at the store and she actually told me why the other pharmacists denied it, which was because I’ve been on the medication for to long (in their opinion - I think she was also trying to have her employees back while still assisting me). She asked me why I was on it for so long and what my diagnosis was. I told her and she said she still had to call my doctor since the other pharmacist denied the prescription.
She calls my doctor and asks what the plan is for getting me off of the medication and makes him state specifically or she will not fill the medicine. She kept saying it’s been over the “cdc guidelines for how long someone should be on the medication.” I have never heard of this, my doctor also said it wasn’t accurate what she was saying.

Has anyone here ever heard that? I’ve been on the medication for 6 years, and have decreased my dose slowly overtime. I also spoke to my dr the other day about the once a month injection so I can taper down even more because I don’t want to be on this for the rest of my life, and mainly because of issues like I had yesterday and today. I am tired of judgmental pharmacists!! My treatment is none of their business! If I was abusing the medication, that would be different!
I told the pharmacist manager I was upset because I felt judged and was treated like I was in active addiction, and how I am clean and it’s not fair that I have to be treated this way. It also doesn’t make sense that she refused to tell me why she wouldn’t fill it! I mean this is just so wrong.
It’s also a good thing I always have a few extra films, and this is exactly why I always make sure I have extra!
Also, doesn’t this go against Florida law 64B16-27.831 and the American with Disabilities Act? I feel this had to do only with her personal bias with addiction and mat.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

Information I found ...

https://www.cdc.gov/rxawareness/treatment/index.html

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assis ... renorphine


I am wondering if I should also file a formal complain with the state pharmacy board?
It is just so wrong to give inaccurate information, refuse to fill a prescription due to bias and inaccurate information, refuse to tell me why she wouldn’t fill the prescription.

I can’t believe a pharmacist has this much power and can make it to where you can’t fill a prescriptio. At walgreens over something that is not even true (she would have know this if she called my doctor, called me, and/or told me what was going on!
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by razor55 »

This will not stop. People do run in to this problem once in awhile. You have your Dr on your side plus fed law. She thought she could scare you off. One other thing you could have done was to go to the stores general manager. Tey over see everythimg in the store. This happned to me at a Wlmart 2 years ago. New Phar manager didnt like that I had a refill. They got rid of her 2 months later. Pharmacist can do one on one judgements. Im really sorry you had to explain yourself to all of them. I would get the name and go to State Phar board with info..yup!!
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by jennjenn »

This is where I’d post that mad emoji with cuss words coming out of his mouth that looks like this ?#*%! Lol! What a bunch of nit picking bull sh*t! Honestly! None of anyone’s business how long you stay on this medication except for your doctor imo. Do they do these same 'guidelines' when ppl are taking oxycodone or morphine for 6 years? No they don’t. Good grief.

I had no idea until a few years ago that a pharmacist can refuse any prescription. That shocked me because I always thought as long as a doctor said it’s ok then it’s ok. Obviously I was wrong. It’s just amazing to me how ppl are so damn strict about buprenorphine. Why? When you got ppl coming in from pain clinics in a single file line for years but the person in recovery passing drug screens, doing counseling and all that.... this is who you refuse to fill? I’m sorry but that’s just being an a-hole.

I’ve been going to the same pharmacy since the beginning of my treatment too. It would devastate me if they did that to me out of the blue. We are already on edge as suboxone patients waiting for something to go wrong and this just proves we have right to worry. I’m sorry this happened to you and YES, I’d complain to someone higher up just because they wrote on my damn script after refusing to fill it.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

Thank you for the suggestion about going to the store manager. That is a great idea! I am going to because what if she did scare me off?! Her personal bias and opinion impacted me getting my medication.
It’s just so wrong and makes me so angry when I think about it! If pharmacists are able to refuse to fill a rx, they should also be held accountable for the reason they refuse if it’s because of personal bias.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by jonathanm1978 »

...lets see...since 2008 I've been on Suboxone. Was using Fred's until they shut-down and I moved to a locally-owned pharmacy (actually, the husband-wife that went in debt to open the pharmacy--the husband works with my wife in an Alabama Power plant).
Never had any sort of issue. I've changed doctors I think 3 times in 10 years...but never had a problem getting the medication.
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Amy-Work In Progress
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by Amy-Work In Progress »

Jonathan, since you have an in with this pharmacist, could you ask them what they think of this situation? For example, has your pharmacist ever heard of this alleged cut-off after a certain number of years? It would be interesting to get their perspective.

Amy
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

That’s a good idea Amy.

I have always had a great relationship with this walgreens, but I did not know this new pharmacist. It was nothing that I did at all. That is why the pharmacy manager filled the prescription, and said she would talk to the other pharmacist. She did support the notes the other pharmacist left, but I couldn’t tell if it was to have her employee’s back or because she believed this to be true herself.
I understand many people do abuse their medication and pharmacists get frustrated over this, but I am not one of those people. I am 100 percent clean.
I even worked at a large treatment center with court-ordered clients as a counselor for five years, and am now in graduate school getting my license in mh counseling.
I have been clean for 9 years this July. I had to go on and off of suboxone because I was pregnant, so have been on it for 6 years this time. Before it was subutex for 1 year and suboxone prior to that.

This only had to do with the pharmacist. Trust me, I self checked over and over when i was denied because it made me feel like I did do something wrong since she wouldn’t tell me the reason. It’s just not fair and I refuse to live my life like this. I am afraid to get off because of withdrawals, but have been reading a lot of success stories and will do counseling to work on my fears associated with withdrawing
But this should be my choice along with my doctor’s, and not a random pharmacist right out of school..
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

Also Jonathon, I’m assuming your wife works at Browns Ferry? My Aunt and Uncle worked there for many years and are now retired. My Dad works at TVA, but also worked at Browns Ferry when i was young (baby).
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

Amy,

If you get a chance checkout the links I posted. One is the cdc guidelines (states nothing about a length of time) and the other is a link from the cdc site to the samsha site and it says it’s up to the patient/doctor and varies... so no timeline. Which makes sense because treatment is supposed to be patient-centered and not uniform so treatment plans would be different for each patient.
Also, there was mat program at the agency I worked at and there were many clients on methadone, subutex, suboxone for years ..... and they were samsha approved, carf accredited, and licensed with florida dept children family services.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by Amy-Work In Progress »

mpa10, I totally agree. I don't see anything that suggests a timeline for when MAT should stop. And I haven't heard of any such expiration date on treatment.

It's kind of funny you should mention CARF. One of locations of the methadone clinic I work for just went through CARF recertification and getting ready for it was a huge deal! We go through state audits and it's stressful, but not nearly as important as CARF!! I had never heard of it until my internship.

These stories about ignorant doctors and pharmacists don't seem to be dying down in the wake of the semi-acceptance of MAT. We still have a lot of educating to do.

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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by jonathanm1978 »

Amy-Work In Progress wrote:Jonathan, since you have an in with this pharmacist, could you ask them what they think of this situation? For example, has your pharmacist ever heard of this alleged cut-off after a certain number of years? It would be interesting to get their perspective.

Amy
I'll talk to her when I go back next week...she ordered my monthly amount but when I picked them up yesterday, she didn't have but 1 box. So I have to go back like Tue/Wed and get the remaining.

It's amazing to me on caremark insurance that RB costs the company + me 760.00/month...but the generic costs around 640/month.However, my price, on RB was like $150/month...but my price on generic is like $68.00
...
absurd.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by jonathanm1978 »

mpa10 wrote:Also Jonathon, I’m assuming your wife works at Browns Ferry? My Aunt and Uncle worked there for many years and are now retired. My Dad works at TVA, but also worked at Browns Ferry when i was young (baby).
ECG (edited) plant. She's an assistant PCO (plant control operator).
Really good job.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

Jonathan,
Yes that is a great job! My Dad is a Senior Nuclear Engineer.

Let me know what your pharmacist says too please. I am thinking about switching pharmacies because I don’t want to be in fear of that pharmacist doing this again in the future. I need to find a place that is small.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by mpa10 »

Amy,

So funny that your agency is preparing for Carf now!! I’ve been through 2 Card audits.
The first one they chose one of my client files and even interviewed them. Thank goodness I wasn’t missing anything and they liked how my progress notes were connected to tx plan goals/objectives.
Those audits are always stressful for the agency as a whole, but if you document well they aren’t as bad for the individual.

Good luck

It’s nice to see more counselors with true mat knowledge working in the field. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of judgement from coworkers regarding mat. I know I have. I usually just provide education and then explain harm reduction.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by jonathanm1978 »

Got nothing from the RX about any sort of deadline. Not something they are familiar with. I use a small non-chain pharmacy because of these stories..Don't have to worry about this nonsense.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by allanwmd1 »

The Wallgreen pharmacist is dead wrong and practicing dangerously. Most State pharmacy boards state that a pharmacist must consult with the treating physician when the pharmacist is unclear about the medication use. This is obvious because the pharmacist: A. Is not allowed to practice medicine. B. Has never performed the necessary history and examination to give treatment advice. The fact the pharmacist told the patient she was aware of some “ CDC guideline” shows why pharmacist must speak with the treating physician. There is no CDC guideline addressing length of treatment. Every practice guideline written, 6 of which I have read, state specifically that there is no limit on how long a patient should be in Suboxone. All these guidelines describe indicators of sufficient recovery that prompt the doctor to raise the issue of reducing dose. The only agency I have credible evidence of misinforming pharmacists is the DEA. The DEA will tell you they are not doctors and have no opinion about length of treatment. However, ask any pharmacist who thinks there is a time limit where they heard it.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by Shake and Bake »

I have had numerous issues with Walgreens. Every month, they seem to have a different excuse why it’s not ready. I continue to deal with this Walgreens only because they are most convenient.
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Re: Walgreens Issue with Pharmacist

Post by jonathanm1978 »

Shake and Bake wrote: Tue May 31, 2022 6:47 pm I have had numerous issues with Walgreens. Every month, they seem to have a different excuse why it’s not ready. I continue to deal with this Walgreens only because they are most convenient.
It's sad that the big chain pharmacies don't care more about their customers... it's all about bottom line profits. I never understood purposely making people wait for 30+ minutes to fill a simple script, let alone a controlled substance... Giving off that impression that they are so busy it really takes that long to do it.. No..it does not...
Adam Wayne P.
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