Prescription for Pain: Florida Patients denied medication

Under pressure from the DEA he says he created a nine item checklist to decide whose prescriptions his pharmacy can fill. “It’s just continuously gotten tighter and tighter on the supply side from the wholesaler. Only 20 percent of my medicines can be controlled substances.

At his pharmacy in order to get a prescription for a controlled substance like morphine, oxycodone or hydrocodone filled you must be over the age of 35, undergo a criminal background check and your doctor must be vetted.

“If it’s a new patient, say they have a new cancer, well they are just out of luck,” said Napier. “Especially towards the end of the month I have a lot of people say my pharmacy is out of it, and I try to explain every pharmacy is out of it because every pharmacy has a quota. Once you meet a quota you are done.” …

Special Agent Mia Ro with the DEA’s Miami Field Division says the DEA is aware of the problem and concerned, and even its own agents have been denied pain medication at pharmacies. “I wish we could say there is an easy answer, but we really don’t know why legitimate patients, such as terminally ill patients and cancer patients are not able to get their prescriptions filled,” said Special Agent Ro…

Here’s the problem:  The DEA gets to decide who is a “legitimate” pain patient.  You see how the agent defines the terminally ill and cancer patients as legitimate?

If you read between the lines, it appears Ms. Ro is saying that the DEA agents who have been denied pain medications aren’t actually “legitimate” pain patients.  I mean, are there cancer patients or anyone who’s terminally ill still working as DEA agents?  If they want pain medications, they have to be one or the other.

Ro is adamant the DEA does not set quotas for how much a distributor can sell to a pharmacy or how much a pharmacy can purchase from the wholesaler. “I think the DEA has become a convenient excuse for many pharmacies not to fill prescriptions,” said Ro. “I want pharmacies to know they don’t have to fear the DEA for doing their jobs for filling legitimate patient’s prescriptions.” …

I beginning to feel sorry for the DEA. They try really hard, but they just don’t make sense. Why would a pharmacy not want to fill prescriptions? That’s what they do.  And as soon as the DEA comes out with a public definition of what “legitimate” means — you know, in the law, from a legal standpoint — well, I guess we’re stuck with the continuation of the drug war.

Doctors and pharmacists no longer get to decide.  Patients don’t get to decide.  The drug war makes all the decisions.  (I mean, the DEA.)

Johnson is now on a mission to fight for patient’s rights. He created the website and within a few weeks already has hundreds of supporters. He’s urging supporters to sign a petition he started to get the White House to address the problem…

We want to know if you’ve had trouble getting your prescriptions filled. Use #MedsDenied to join in on the conversation on the First Coast News Facebook page or tweet us on @fcn2go.

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