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shortage of pain meds by DEA

Tomorrow morning I am being interviewed for a national TV news program on pain management. It began when i contacted my local newspaper to tell them that i had legal prescriptions for pains meds but local pharmacies would not fill. Because of the crack down (understandable) on the distribution of drugs illegally that the DEA was severely limiting shipments of pain meds to pharmacices. In addition, I discovered ( actually the reporter did) that some doctors and pain clinics in business could not have their precriptions filled. The pharmacies on their own decided that they had prescribed too many drugs. The patient didn't know why it couldn't be filled. I have felt like a druggie and treated as one. I have severe stenosis with more complications. I would like to have the option of other drugs and with a new neurosurgeon soon perhaps that will happen. In the meantime, I have come to as many as 12 pharmacies when my prescription was due to be filled to find that they had no supply. It is frightening to come 24 hours before withdrawal just waiting for the shipment to come in. I have made a practice of checking whether or not they filled for my doctor. Others who have not asked have been turned away and didn't know why. Anybody out there relate to this?;


  • backbback Posts: 190
    edited 09/25/2012 - 5:32 PM
    No, I don't relate to that. My PM prescribes my prescriptions every month. I go to one pharmacy for my pain meds. They keep my prescription stocked just for me. I go to another pharmacy for my Baclofen and Trazodone cause they're cheaper when I get a 90 day prescription for those two drugs.

    I don't understand why you would go to multiple pharmacies. My contract with my doctor requires that my pain meds be filled at one pharmacy. If I want to change, then I have to notify him of the change.

  • I have been set up by my pharmacy to call in a couple days before I'm to filly d script and they will have it
    In stock. So yes I've experienced the changes myself. What part of the country are you in. I'm in Az.
  • I'm on medicare and also have a rx add on plan. The drug plan has a large donut hole where you have to pay a large deductible until you have payed nearly $2000 out of pocket. Although your plan co-pay may only be $3, the actual retail price is what they use to get you to the donut hole. One of my medications ranges from $211 at one pharmacy all the way up to as much as $700 at the most expensive pharmacy. If I go to the most expensive pharmacy I end up in the donut hole in a matter of a few months. If I shop around I have found that I can avoid even hitting the donut hole. I learned this the hard way. I thought all the pharmacy charged the same retail price for medicare.

    If your pm forces you to use one pharmacy, they could be costing you thousands of dollars in co-pays. So it's the old saying, buyer beware. I end up using 2 pharmacies and several of my drug I get on the 90 day plan my insurance offers. From one year to the next I figured out that I saved $2400 in drug costs. So shop around!

  • I am only required to purchase my narcotics (pain meds) from one pharmacy. I also shop around for all my other prescriptions. I get my diabetes meds for free because one of my pharmacy's has a deal for it. I actually use 5 different pharmacy's depending on what prescription is being purchased. I also use my insurance companies online pharmacy for some prescriptions. Some of my prescriptions are less than the standard copay that my insurance requires.

  • I haven't had any issues either. I've been going to the same pharmacy for 11 years now and I know the two head Pharmacists and the staff. So I call in a few days ahead of time and they always make sure they have the medication I need.

    And what PEDD and others mean when we need to use one pharmacy for our opiates....it doesn't mean the Dr. chooses the pharmacy....We choose which one we want and just let them know the name and phone number. If I ever needed to change, I would just let them know. So...it only means that you agree once you find a pharmacy, to only use that one for the opiates.

    And it's not just about medicare. Every pharmacy and chain has their own contracts and pricing with suppliers/manufacturers. So this is why it's very important to call around and price every medication you get. I do not have any insurance and I use Sam's club pharmacy.

    By law, you do NOT need to have a membership card to use the big box stores' pharmacy. They are even cheaper than the local Walmart even though it's the same company.

    So...if for some reason you are on a rare pain medication that just isn't stocked normally by pharmacies then work with your Dr. to switch pain meds to something that is more readily available. Most opiate pain meds work similarly.

    Good luck..
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    can decide if your symptoms require a certain drug. Not the pharmacy, nor the DEA have a medical licence. If you have a hard copy, then they have to fill it. And can not play Doctor. And make medical decisions for you.........................something is terribly wrong here!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I beg to differ, a pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription and they do not have to give you a reason why. That is why some pharmacists that refused to fill the morning after pill some years ago got away with it. They do maintain discretionary powers when it comes to filling a prescription or not.
    I don't think that they should be able to do that , but they do have the right at this point. If the prescription is valid, and there is no medical reason to refuse to fill, ie- allergic reaction or reaction to another med the patient is taking, then in my opinion, as long as it is a legal prescription, it ought to be filled.
  • EMTgoneNUTZEEMTgoneNUTZ Posts: 321
    edited 10/14/2012 - 7:02 PM
    And so do MANY others, at least here in FL anyway. I never had issues filling my scripts until this "crackdown" by the DEA took a hard turn this year. Now it's a guessing game from month to month as to whether or not my regular pharmacy will have it in stock. They claim they aren't allowed to call around to other stores to see who does have it, so you have no choice but to go from store to store until you find one that does. The Dr's at my PM office are very well aware of this and it does not violate my pain contract as long as I call them and tell them which pharmacy was able to fill them. It is a HUGE pain in the ass, especially since you can't fill them until the DAY they are due, which means if you can't find a pharmacy to fill it, you're gonna be sick the next day from withdrawals. I am sick to death of it, to be frank.
  • that the pharmacy (a large chain) also claims that because of the new DEA rules, they are only allowed to stock "just so much" of these drugs at a time, and they are also only allowed to order "just so much" at a time. The pharmacist himself also told me that it IS going to get worse, and that it IS all because of the addicts and dealers.
  • I'm fortunate that my PM doc fills my medications in his own clinic. He is set up to do that for all of his patients. Must have a pharmaceutical license or something. Every month I just go pick them up from him, and if it is something he doesn't stock, he orders it and has it shipped to me by FedEx. Just one more reason I love my doctor!
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I have never had that problem with my medications. Sometimes they don't have my full script of zanaflex but they will partial fill and I will pick up the rest in a day or so when it comes in.

    I get what you are saying about feeling embarrassed when you pick up your meds. I do feel that way. Look at me.... 25 year old. I look normal from the outside except a little scar on my neck. I am sure some pharmacy techs think oh why is she getting norco. She is some kind of druggie. This feeling may just be in my head who knows, but I do still feel bad about taking it, even though I know that I am doing nothing wrong.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • MsHumptyDumptyMMsHumptyDumpty Posts: 1,567
    edited 10/25/2012 - 4:40 PM
    I have been known to say this MANY times over the past few years "my mom made a friend with the butcher & I make them with my pharmacist" ;)

    I have made it a point to go on days the same 2 are working, ask about their families, tell them I like their shoes, tell them I am sorry they are having such a busy/hard day etc. They now go wayyyy past the extra mile for me. They know me as a person! They know I still have to work, still have to take care of my hubby (age 48 & has dementia) and that all of life is on my plate to handle alone. I think my chatting with them also shows them I really am living life and am not just sitting around waiting to get high.

    I do not know if they do with their other customers but I do know that they are super great to me.

    one example: for 3 or 4 months I had to go else where for my 1 pain med as they were not being given enough and some weeks none of it at all! Finally the Pharm called her boss told her how hard it is for me to get in/out of other places and that I need this drug every month at a set time. They are not allowed to hold a med back for anyone. However now I know when the meds come in and I am there that AM to be sure I get first dibs.

    I do call ahead by a few days to be sure they got what they think they are getting for some other meds, so they don't think I expect them to do this with all my meds.

    It IS getting harder & harder to get pain meds. I have several friends (who don't know about my meds as I tell very few people!) who have to go pharm to pharm & often end up waiting 4 to 6 days for a pharm to get their pain meds in :(

    Plus my Dr. told me that he has turned most of his pain patients on narcs over to a different dr. He said the paper work & hoops he has to jump through now days are unreal.
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • metanoia8-- so what has ended up happening?
    What state are you in anyway?
    I am Louisiana have occasionally had to wait for the supply shipment
    of Norco to my pharmacy but I always submit my prescription a few days ahead
    of time.
    As far as using only one pharmacy, my pain management Doc requires that I get what they prescribe from just one store but my others(blood pressure meds from other Doc) doesn't matter.
    Lately I have noticed , I think, they are trying to steer me to a pharmacy in their building but I live 70 miles away so I have never used them.
    I hope things are better for you now.
    C3-4-5 fusion 2005
    C-5-T-1 disk bulged
    L-4-5 bulge to the right, with Microdiscectomy, failed
    L5- Bi-Lateral bulge
    Pain in right foot -loss of feeling
    Left butt, hip and front thigh pain with bad shooting pain into inside ankle sometimes
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,837
    Might be because I have a good relationship with the pharmacy that I use. Many times I have talked to them about my various medications, their supply and also how and when they can refill something.

    I was just discussing this yesterday with my pharmacist. I am in the middle of a good flare up. My pain management doctor wrote me a script for my Oxycodone. In the past, it was written to be filled on the 5th of every month.. 2 pills 5mg a day, 12 hours at a max of 4 per day. My doctor and I discussed that now I am using 5 and sometimes 6 a day . So instead of writing a do not refill until xxx day, she just indicated that it could be refilled at any tie.

    My pharmacist said that as long as the script has he same instructions (4 a day max), they would not refill it until the 3rd of the month. I understood that. They did add, that IF the doctor changed the script to say 2 at a time every 8 hours, that would have increased the allowed total to 6.

    So, even if the doctor knows what should be done, unless they specifically detail the script, the pharmacist and insurance companies can dictate when a script can be refilled.

    In terms of availability, I also discuss this with the pharmacy. They know what I need so they make sure that they have the quantity I need
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Funny this should come up today. It sure is happening here in Az. Shortage. Even the pharmacist admitted that end of year they have reached the amounts of the oxycodone they fill and therefore have shortage. I am not exaggerating when I say this but I live in a city of close to 1 million people and I have spent since monday. Trying to fill my Rx. I ended up goimg 25 miles over to the next town to get it filled. Like somenof you have stated, your established with your pharmacy and so on. But so am I and I got the short end of the stick. The supply came in and they were shorted. That was that. Now I'm hearing that some big box places ard not even going to be getting that med in at all. How true that is remains to be seen. But after four dayz of driving and driving and getting in and out of my car took its toll on me. I'm hurting and stressed. More of avent the. Snything else. I'm tired of it I want out. I don't want to live my life like this. My lady was upset I had not eaten dinner at home with her for 3 nights for being out on the hunt. Made it up to her tonihht but the point is I'm tired of these meds.tbanks for understanding.
  • My PM has a letter they give you regarding a major chain ( begins with "C") requiring extensive "proof of need' from the doctor to fill prescriptions. They say in no uncertain terms to no longer use that chain as what is requested is time consuming, expensive, and can be considered a violation of privacy rules. I do ot know if this is due to shortages or not. If you interview was aired and is on the net I would lke to see it, sounds like it will be informative.
  • Ron--That is one of the reason I'd rather not have to take oxycodone, shortages and stigma.
    But my PM contract is very specific about only using the one pharmacy and keeping it to that one unless getting permission to switch.
    Why I am having the feeling that I (and others like me) am a criminal?
    C3-4-5 fusion 2005
    C-5-T-1 disk bulged
    L-4-5 bulge to the right, with Microdiscectomy, failed
    L5- Bi-Lateral bulge
    Pain in right foot -loss of feeling
    Left butt, hip and front thigh pain with bad shooting pain into inside ankle sometimes
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