Drug stores refusing to fill pain medications


Pharmacist Steve said:  The above post appeared in a closed FB page for chronic pain… I’M SPEECHLESS !

The Walgreens that I have used for the last 27 years & is the closest to my house – just UNDER a mile away (.94 mile) has a new Pharmacy Manager who will not fill my class 2 prescriptions because I am in a different zip code!! Seriously how do I even reason with this type of insanity????

Under comments:

Barbara Fowler, on July 8, 2015 at 10:47 am said:
Reporting Walgreens won’t help. I’ve been fighting with Walgreens for 3 years over my pain meds and I’ve written letters of complaint to every entity you can imagine, including their own CEO, and nothing has changed. My best advice is to take your business elsewhere. The only thing they will ever understand is what impacts their pocket so I am encouraging everyone I know to go elsewhere. I know that is easier said than done these days, but the privately owned pharmacies are your best chance. Go in and explain your situation in person and talk to them. If you live in the Orlando area, I can recommend a great guy who is very supportive and wants to help. Good luck to you.


INDIANAPOLIS – Some Walgreens customers are sharing painful stories about their recent trip to the drug store. They say those routine visits to get pain medication were anything but routine, ending in humiliation, threats and accusations…

Robert had gotten his pain pills from the same Walgreens drug store for two years without incident. When he recently went to get a refill, that changed.

He was told the drug store now had to verify his prescriptions by talking with his doctor — and that could take up to five days. Since Robert had just one day of pain pills left (both his doctor and his insurance company prohibit him from getting his painkiller prescriptions filled early), the longtime Walgreens customer asked for his prescription back so he could take it to a different pharmacy.

The pharmacist refused.

“He said, ‘I’ve already started the process and now it’s out of my hands. I am not giving it back to you,'” Robert recalls. “I felt kind of panicked and I told him, ‘I don’t think you can do that.’ That’s when he told me to leave or he’d call the police… I had no choice but to leave them there until he was able to fill them.” …

The pharmacy will call and further investigate. They’ll say ‘Why is this patient getting this script? What’s wrong with them? What’s the diagnosis? How long are they going to be on it? How long have they been on it?'” explained Dr. Ed Kowlowitz, who runs the Center for Pain Management in Indianapolis. “They’re not just filling scripts anymore.”

Walgreens says its new policy is designed to curb prescription drug abuse, which is now a national epidemic.

But there’s another reason for the new rules: Walgreens has no choice.

They are part of a new settlement agreement the company reached with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency…

Just one day after Walgreens settled its $80 million federal complaint involving improper dispensing of pain medication, J.C. drove to her local Walgreens to get a monthly refill of her painkillers. That’s when she learned her Walgreens pharmacist no longer wanted her business.

“They refused [to fill] it. He said, ‘We suggest you take it to CVS. At this point we’re just feeding an addiction.’ He was very loud and it was right in the open when he basically called me an addict. At that point, I was just so upset I left,” J.C. said…

Under comments:

Donna Gargiulo Gonzalez Collins
Although my doctor wrote me a prescription for Tramadol for 6 pills a day (1 every 4 hours) Walgreens said they will only allow me to have 90 pills for 30 days. They say that is their policy! That is only 3 pills a day! How can Walgreens change my prescription going against my doctors orders? What can I do about this? By the way my insurance company also approved payment for my prescription as the doctor wrote it.

JW Smythe
Same here. Ongoing pain management prescription was refused because it’s “against policy” to fill it. They’ve been filling it. They flagged it in their system so I can’t fill it at *any* Walgreens. I went to a dozen other pharmacies today trying to find one that had it in stock. They’re all out of stock…

John Blaine · Bradenton, Florida
I have just got refused meds form Walgreens. Doesn’t calling the doctors for more information violate HIPPA laws? I believe they can only check if the meds have been perscribed. I just got refused service at walgreens for pain killers that I have been taking for 18 years. It took years for the doctors and I to come up with a combination of meds to ease the pain so I could have some kind of quality of life. My choices for my pains were, To keep taking these meds, Have a Morphine pack put in me or to have my leg cut off…

Marcy Elizabeth Pedersen · Cypress College
Walgreens treated me so badly, that i was having very depressing scary thoughts. I just had a pulmonary embolism, and needed my meds filled, but instead the pharmacist shredded the prescription and told me i didn’t need it and to go back to the emergency room!


Chronic whiner Says:
Fri, Jun 19 ’15, 7:13 PM

The exact same situation happened to me. I live in South Eastern Michigan. Same elevated lived enzymes, also chronic, debilitating illnesses that began with a shoddy gastric bypass in August of 2005, followed by 19 surgeries in an attempt to rectify the problems, and due to severe malnourishment, a feeding tube for 3 years, a severe blockage where my esophagus and pouch met, I now have degenerative disc disease in my neck, bulging and herniated discs all down my spine, scoliosis, arthritis, osteoporosis…. There’s more, I’m not even touching on the mental anguish, PTSD, etc etc… Pardon my tangent. My point is, my doc did the same. Put me on oxycodone to lesson the Tylenol I was taking, but I could not fill the script. 2 days of phone calls (that was a joke) and unbelievable mileage… And I STILL was unable to fill the script. My doc reluctantly had to prescribe the norco after all… No other option worked as well…

tanya Says:
Sat, May 23 ’15, 11:31 AM

Yeah walgreens told me the same thing the last time i tried to fill with them. They said they couldn’t fill pain meds with muscle relaxers or pain meds with anxiety meds. He called it a south florida drug cocktail and then he flagged my file so that any walgreens i went to would refuse me. I was with them for years n years…

legalpain Says:
Thu, Mar 12 ’15, 12:35 PM

I was a 8 year customer @ CVS I’ve been at the same pain doctor 10 yrs and then the pharmacy manager refused to fill my 6 scripts. Only 2 are narco! My wife and just spent 6 hours just trying to get them filled at another CVS. Yesterday between my pain appt and trying to find a pharmacy (again I’ve never filled early out of fear and same CVS 8 yrs) I spent 8 hours.
I’m on methadone and for some magical reason it can only be found at the place who refused me.  I even called corporate trying to find out what happened. And all I get is it’s all up to pharmacy manager and a big wig named Cathleen in corp.

Since when did pharmacist get to play GOD with my life? I never wanted any of this. I have a dying wife and son with multiple health problems. Money is tight and last month I had repeated seizurs from methadone while the CVS I always went to decided to fill one last time.
Now where do I go?

5 thoughts on “Drug stores refusing to fill pain medications

  1. omg! i mean, you have shared other articles where pharmacies are refusing to fill pain meds. but this is outrageous even compared to those others! if the pharmacist gets to decide if you get the med at all, and then gets to decide how many per day and how many per month, when your doctor has already written if for something else, why do we even need doctors? now, pharmacists are the doctors and the fillers. so glad to know they have all the education and experience as the actual docs (NOT)!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad that my mom (78) and myself (51) are not the only ones having trouble getting pain medication, I have been without my Lidoderm patches since January fighting back and forth. We don’t have the option to go elsewhere, our insurance only covers Walgreens and their own pharmacy and both are playing the game. I don’t take pill forms of pain killers because I was in a coma from medicine going toxic in my body and I’m trying to get healthy naturally, but my mom who just had back surgery does take it and has to jump through hoops plus now pay $95.00 who has that on social security? Just glad we are not alone and singled out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read about anyone having trouble getting Lidoderm patches, unless you’re talking about insurance not covering them, or only covering them on a higher co-pay:


      “In terms of your denial, Jill, the Lidocaine patches were denied due to off-label use because Lidocaine patches are only approved by the FDA to treat post-herpetic neuralgia, a complication of shingles. This means that the only way Medicare covers Lidocaine patches is if you have post-herpetic neuralgia. It does not make a difference what Part D plan you have; Lidocaine patches are not covered by Medicare unless you have this diagnosis.”

      Sometimes I used to get free samples from my doctor, so you might want to see if your doctor will do that too. You might also see if Endo Pharmaceuticals will help you pay for them:


      You might also be able to get the generic, but it doesn’t seem to be as good as the brand:



      • Lioccaine patches are covered, I was told that the doctor had to answer a 5 question survey of my history before I could get them. They have worked better for me at night for my fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome and diabetes than any other drugs on the market. I used to take them with morphine, and botox when I broke my neck and had migraines. When I woke up from my coma I refused all medication except for the ones I couldn’t replace with vitamins, like insulin and thyroid and Nexium. After two years of going more natural my numbers are showing improvement and going down. It will take time, I didn’t get out of shape over night and won’t get better without hard work, determination and standing my ground. The patches, which I got my first box last night after fighting since January will help edge off the pain enough to move around, it’s a small step in the right direction. Thanks for your help, much appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Then there’s this:


    That’s why I’m sticking with the same darn expensive CVS that I’ve been going to for decades. I’m terrified of rocking the boat that’s kept me afloat. I’d rather be poor than without pain pills.

    Liked by 1 person

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