10/18/2014, Pill mill fallout: Legitimate patients have trouble getting pain meds


NAPLES, Fla. – LaVeeda Krumm walks her Lake Park neighborhood in Naples late at night because she can’t sleep. “I’m not a nice person,” the 60-year-old grandmother said. Live with chronic pain, without restful sleep, and nobody can stay nice, she said.

Krumm has gone weeks without oxycodone, the pain medication she has taken for 16 years for nerve damage in her back and from failed surgeries to fix it. She says she is barely hanging on…

The Florida Medical Association held a conference call last month with pharmaceutical wholesalers, pain physician associations, the DEA and the Florida Attorney General’s Office to talk about the hardships for chronic pain patients, said Dr. Jeffrey Zipper, president of the Florida Academy of Pain Medicine.

“We agreed to try and come up with solutions we can all live with together,” Zipper, a pain physician in Delray Beach, said. “We don’t have any specific recommendations yet but we all agreed we have to come up with a cohesive solution together. I don’t know how long it will take.”

(See my post entitled “Chronic pain waits for no one. Did you think it did?”)

He believes changes can be possible through the Florida Department of Health, which has oversight over both the medical and pharmacy boards, as opposed to legislative action.

The DEA is concerned about pain patients’ having access to their medications, according to DEA spokeswoman Mia Ro in Miami. “We have become the easy scapegoat,” Ro said. “Pharmacists should not be afraid of the DEA if they are practicing their good professional judgment and filling legitimate prescriptions.”

Look, we’re the DEA, if we say there’s no reason to be afraid, then don’t be afraid. Trust us.

Because she is permanently disabled and on Medicare, she found salvation through a mail order company which now delivers her prescription to her home. She knows other pain patients who aren’t on disability and can’t access the same solution. “I am lucky from what I can see,” Kennedy said.

The mail-order pharmacies are really starting to cash in on the drug war… How many are there, like 2 or 3?

Tina Schnitzlein was taking oxycodone and methadone for back problems and peripheral neuropathy — nerve damage — in her feet.

Without insurance, family members helped with her monthly pharmacy bill at a Golden Gate area pharmacy. Still, the pharmacist insisted her Naples doctor reduce her dosage every two months, Without notice, the pharmacist refused to fill her prescription until she got insurance. She got coverage this past year and it has worked so far and she’s getting her medicine.

“No questions asked,” she said. “Once I got insured, I was not fishy.”

Pharmacies have become the gatekeeper of the registry and it’s easier to refuse to fill prescriptions to avoid dealing with the registry, Mantz, the oncologist, said…

Krumm, the Lake Park resident, was seeing a Lee County doctor for years until he dropped her and told her she needs a local doctor and pharmacy. Her insurance arranged for mail-order delivery but that has ended. “I don’t sell my drugs. I went to the same doctor,” she said. “And I got the rugged pulled from under me.”

Krueger, with Collier Neurological, said pharmacists call his office and tell him to prescribe something else for some patients. He regards that as an infringement on his practice…

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