2017 in review … what killed us

Today is 07/21/2018.. who will not be here tomorrow

2016 in review … what killed us

6775 Americans will die EVERY DAY – from various reasons


140 will be SUCCESSFUL – including 20 veterans

270 will die from hospital acquired antibiotic resistant “bug” because staff won’t properly wash hands and/or proper infection control.

350 will die from their use/abuse of the drug ALCOHOL

1200 will die from their use/abuse of the drug NICOTINE

1400 will contract C-DIF from Hospital or Nursing home because staff doesn’t properly wash their hands are adhere to infection control  

80 WILL DIE mostly elderly.

850 will die from OBESITY

700 will die from medical errors

150 will die from Flu/Pneumonia

80 will die from Homicide

80 will die in car accidents




Here is the list from the end of 2016 if interested in comparing
United States of America
from Jan 1, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017 (11:36:39 AM)

Abortion*: 1090465
Heart Disease: 613479
Cancer: 590862
Tobacco: 349505
Obesity: 306566
Medical Errors: 251098
Stroke: 132915
Lower Respiratory Disease: 142741
Accident (unintentional): 135861
Hospital Associated Infection: 98860
Alcohol: 99859
Diabetes: 76380
Alzheimer’s Disease: 93409
Influenza/Pneumonia: 55149
Kidney Failure: 42702
Blood Infection: 33417
Suicide: 42713
Drunk Driving: 33760
Unintentional Poisoning: 31713
All Drug Abuse: 24970
Homicide: 16775
Prescription Drug Overdose: 14979
Murder by gun: 11477
Texting while Driving: 5981
Pedestrian: 4993
Drowning: 3909
Fire Related: 3495
Malnutrition: 2768
Domestic Violence: 1458
Smoking in Bed: 779
Falling out of Bed: 598
Killed by Falling Tree: 149
Lawnmower: 68
Spontaneous Combustion: 0

Totals of all categories are based upon past trends documented below.



I am being completely weaned off my meds, & suspect I will kill myself with the amount of pain I am in, & will be by the time this is over (the wean that is). Already can’t function.

My husband committed suicide after being abandoned by his pain dr.

Please pray for me as I am on the brink of suicide! I don’t want to die but can’t handle the pain anymore! The doctor that I am currently seeing will not give me enough pills to last all month every month… I have to wait until Oct to get in with a pain management doctor whom I already know by others that I know sees this doctor that he will help me, need prayer to hold on until oct… I keep thinking of my family who needs me hear.

“We just lost another intractable member of our support group two nights ago. She committed suicide because her medications were taken away for interstitial cystitis (a horribly painful bladder condition) and pudendal neuralgia, both of which she had battled for years

D D., journalist and prescribed fentanyl patient for a dozen years joined me on air last weekend with her husband and spoke of her suicide plan should the only relief from constant agony be heavily reduced or taken away.

I was told last Friday that my Dr. will be tapering my meds again . When I told him I didn’t think my body could take another lowering he stated ” it wasn’t my
License on the line”, I stated ” no , but it’s my life on the line”!!!!! I can not continue to live this way . I can not continue to suffer in agony when my medications and dose where working just fine before and I was a productive member of society . I can no longer take this. I have a plan in place to end my life myself When I am forced to reduce my Medications again . I just can’t do it anymore .

On Friday at around 9 p.m. U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Keller parked his red pickup truck in the parking lot at the Wytheville Rite-Aid, walked across the grass and stood in front of the U.S. Veterans Community Based Outpatient Clinic next door.

Sick and tired of being in pain, he pulled out a gun, shot a hole in the office door, aimed the gun barrel at his head and ended his hurt once and for all.

As a longterm pain patient with a current unsupportive pain dr, I just thought I’d share the reality of the position I’m in right now…

I’m in very bad pain all the time for very legit and well documented reasons. My pain dr however never gives me enough meds to help me. He just keeps reducing them, which is causing me to be in even more pain and suffer so much more. My quality of life also continues to go downhill at the same time. I was just given a letter by him recently too about some study indicating an increase in deaths if you take opioids and benzos. It stated he’s no longer going to give pain meds to anyone who is taking a benzo. I take one, because I have to, for a seizure disorder, not because I want to. He told me to pick one or the other though, plus went ahead and reduced my pain meds some more. He doesn’t seem to care the least bit. I’ve looked hard and so far I can’t find another one to get in to see near me at this time, but I’m desperately still trying. Unfortunately, they’re few and far between here, in addition to the wait for an appointment being long. I’ve even called hospice for help. So far, they haven’t been of much help either, because I don’t have a dr who will say I have six months or less to live. I told them either choice my pain dr is giving me is very inhumane, so I’d rather just quit eating and drinking, to the point where I pass away from that, while I get some kind of comfort care from them. I don’t really want to though, although I do have a long list of some very bad health problems, including a high probability that I have cancer and it’s spread. Am I suicidal? No. Will I be if my pain and seizure meds are taken away. Highly likely. I never ever saw this coming either. I don’t have a clue what to do and the clock is ticking, but I’m still fighting for an answer. So far, I can’t find not even one dr to help me though. Not one. I know my life depends on it, but at what point will these drs let my suffering become so inhumane that I just can’t take it anymore. I just don’t know right now. It’s a very scary place to be in for sure. That I do know.

The patient was being denied the medicine that had been alleviating his pain and committed suicide because, “he couldn’t live with the pain anymore. He could not see a future. He had no hope. He had no life.”

I am a chronic pain patient who has been on fairly high doses of opiates for about nine years now. My dose has been forcibly reduced since the cdc guidelines. I moved to Oregon from Alaska and can’t find a doctor to prescribe my medication. I pray I have the strength not to take my own life!

Zach Williams of Minnesota  committed suicide at age 35. He was a veteran of Iraq and had experienced back pain and a brain injury from his time in service. He had treated his pain with narcotics until the VA began reducing prescriptions.

Ryan Trunzo committed suicide at the age of 26. He was an army veteran of Iraq. He had experienced fractures in his back for which he tried to get effective painkillers, but failed due to VA policy. His mother stated “I feel like the VA took my son’s life.”

Kevin Keller, a Navy veteran, committed suicide at age 52. He shot v after breaking into the house of his friend, Marty Austin, to take his gun. Austin found a letter left by Keller saying “Marty sorry I broke into your house and took your gun to end the pain!” Keller had experienced a stroke 11 years earlier, and he had worsening pain in the last two years of his life because VA doctors would not give him pain medicine. On the subject of pain medication, Austin said that Keller “was not addicted. He needed it.”

Bob Mason, aged 67, of Montana committed suicide after not having access to drugs to treat his chronic pain for just one week. One doctor who had treated Mason was Mark Ibsen, who shut down his office after the Montana Board of Medical Examiners investigated him for excessive prescription of opioids. According to Mason’s daughter, Mason “didn’t like the drugs, but there were no other options.”

Donald Alan Beyer, living in Idaho, had experienced back pain for years. He suffered from  degenerative disc disease, as well as a job-related injury resulting in a broken back. After his doctor retired, Beyer struggled without pain medicine for months. He shot himself on his 47th birthday. His son, Garrett, said “I guess he felt suicide was his only chance for relief.”

Denny Peck of Washington state was 58 when he ended his life. In 1990, he experienced a severe injury to his vertebrae during a fishing accident. His mother, Lorraine Peck, said “[h]e has been in severe pain ever since,” and his daughter, Amanda Peck, “said she didn’t remember a time when her dad didn’t hurt.” During the last few years of his life, Peck had received opiates for his pain from a Seattle Pain Center, until these clinics closed. After suffering and being unable to find doctors who would help with his pain, Peck called 911. Two days later, Peck was found dead in his home with bullet wounds in his head. A note found near Peck read: “Can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t do anything. And all the whitecoats don’t care at all.”

Doug Hale of Vermont killed himself at the age of 53. He had experienced pain from interstitial cystitis, and decided to end his life six weeks after his doctor suddenly cut off his opiate painkillers. He left a note reading “Can’t take the chronic pain anymore” before he shot himself in the head. His doctor said he “was no longer willing to risk my license by writing you another script for opioids”  (see attachment A for details of the problem as relyed by his wife Tammi who is now 10 months without a husband as a direct result of the CDC guidelines to prevent deaths)Bruce Graham committed suicide after living with severe pain for two years. At age 62, Graham fell from a ladder, suffering several severe injuries. He had surgery and fell into a coma. After surgery, he suffered from painful adhesions which could not be removed. He relied on opioid painkillers to tolerate his pain, but doctors eventually stopped prescribing the medicine he needed. Two years after his fall, Graham shot himself in the heart to end the pain.

Travis Patterson, a young combat veteran, died two days after a suicide attempt at the age of 26. After the attempt to take his own life, Patterson was brought to the VA emergency room. Doctors offered therapy as a solution, but did not offer any relief for his pain. Patterson died two days after his attempted suicide.

54-year-old Bryan Spece of Montana  killed himself about two weeks after he experienced a major reduction in his pain medication. The CDC recommends a slow reduction in pain medicine, such as a 10% decrease per week. Based on information from Spece’s relative, Spece’s dose could have been reduced by around 70% in the weeks before he died.

In Oregon, Sonja Mae Jonsson ended her life when her doctor stopped giving her pain medicine as a result of the CDC guidelines.

United States veterans have been committing suicide after being unable to receive medicine for pain. These veterans include Peter Kaisen,Daniel Somers, Kevin Keller, Ryan Trunzo, Zach Williams, and Travis Patterson

A 40-year-old woman with fibromyalgia, lupus, and back issues appeared to have committed suicide after not being prescribed enough pain medicine. She had talked about her suicidal thoughts with her friends several times before, saying “there is no quality of life in pain.” She had no husband or children to care for, so she ended her life.

Sherri Little was 53 when she committed suicide. She suffered pain from occipital neuralgia, IBS, and fibromyalgia. A friend described Little as having a “shining soul of activism” as she spent time advocating for other chronic pain sufferers. However, Little had other struggles in her life, such as her feeling that her pain kept her from forming meaningful relationships. In her final days, Little was unable to keep down solid food, and she tried to get medical help from a hospital. When she was unable to receive relief, Little ended her life.

Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle of North Carolina shot himself at age 71. He suffered from long-term pain under his left breast. Although he went through several medical tests to determine the cause of his pain, the results could not provide relief. After Trickle’s suicide, his brother stated that Dick “must have just decided the pain was too high, because he would have never done it for any other reason.”

39-year-old Julia Kelly committed suicide after suffering ongoing pain resulting from two car accidents. Kelly’s pain caused her to quit her job and move in with her parents, unable to start a family of her own. Her family is certain that the physical and emotional effects of her pain are what drove her to end her life. Kelly had founded a charity to help other chronic pain sufferers, an organization now run by her father in order to help others avoid Julia’s fate.

Sarah Kershaw ended her life at age 49. She was a New York Times Reporter who suffered from occipital neuralgia.

Lynn Gates Jackson, speaking for her friend E.C. who committed suicide after her long term opiates were suddenly reduced by 50% against her will, for no reason.  Lynn reports she felt like the doctors were not treating her like a human being (Ed:  a common complaint) and she made the conscious decision to end her life.

E.C. committed suicide quietly one day in Visalia California.  She was 40.  Her friend reported her death.  “She did not leave a note but I know what she did”.  The doctor would only write a prescription for 10 vicodin and she was in so much pain she could not get to the clinic every few days.   We had talked many times about quitting life. Then she left.  She just left.

Jessica, a patient with RSD/CRPS committed suicide when the pain from her disease became too much for her to bear. A friend asserted that Jessica’s death was not the result of an overdose, and that “living with RSD isn’t living.”



















Aliff, Charles

Beyer, Donald Alan

Brunner, Robert “Bruin”

Graham, Bruce

Hale, Doug

Hartsgrove, Daniel P

Ingram III, Charles Richard

Kaisen, Peter

Keller, Kevin

Kershaw, Sarah

Kimberly, Allison

Little, Sherri

Mason, Bob

Miles, Richard

Murphy, Thomas

Paddock, Karon

Patterson, Travis “Patt”

Peck, Denny

Peterson, Michael Jay

Reid, Marsha

Somers, Daniel

Son, Randall Lee

Spece, Brian

Tombs, John

Trickle, Richard “Dick”

Trunzo, Ryan

Williams, Zack

Karon Shettler Paddock  committed suicide on August 7, 2013  http://www.kpaddock.org/


Jessica Simpson took her life July 2017

Mercedes McGuire took her life on Friday, August 4th. She leaves behind her 4 yr old son. She could no longer endure the physical & emotional pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia.


Another Veteran Suicide In Front Of VA Emergency Department

 Depression and Pain makes me want to kill self. Too much physical and emotional pain to continue on. I seek the bliss fullness of Death. Peace. Live together die alone.

 Dr. Mansureh Irvani  suspected overdose victim  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/08/18/suspended-oral-surgeon-dies-suspected-overdose.html

Katherine Goddard’s Suicide note: Due to the pain we are both in and can’t get help, this is the only way we can see getting out of it. Goodbye to everybody,”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-man-arrested-after-girlfriend-dies-during-alleged-suicide-pact/  

Steven Lichtenberg: the 32-year-old Dublin man shot himself   http://www.dispatch.com/news/20160904/chronic-pains-emotional-toll-can-lead-to-suicide  

Fred Sinclair  he was hurting very much and was, in effect, saying goodbye to the family.  http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=21743

Robert Markel, 56 – June 2016 – Denied Pain Meds/Heroin OD  http://www.pennlive.com/opioid-crisis/2017/08/heroin_overdose_deaths.html

 Lisa June 2016  https://youtu.be/rBlrSyi_-rQ

Jay Lawrence  March 2017  https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/9/4/how-chronic-pain-killed-my-husband

Celisa Henning: killed herself and her twin daughters...http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Mom-in-Apparent-Joliet-Murder-Suicide-said-Body-Felt-Like-It-was-On-Fire-Grandma-Says-442353713.html?fb_action_ids=10213560297382698&fb_action_types=og.comments

Karen Boje-58  CPP-Deming, NM

Katherine Goddard, 52 –  June 30, 2017 – Palm Coast, FL -Suicide/Denied Opioids  http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20170816/palm-coast-man-charged-with-assisting-self-murder

https://medium.com/@ThomasKlineMD/suicides-associated-with-non-consented-opioid-pain-medication-reductions-356b4ef7e02aPartial List of Suicides, as of 9–10-17

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

Lacy Stewart 59, http://healthylivings247.com/daughter-says-untreated-pain-led-to-mothers-suicide/#

Ryan Trunzo of Massachusetts committed suicide at the age of 26  http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/18881/?fullname=trunzo,-ryan-j  

Mercedes McGuire of Indiana ended her life August 4th, 2017 after struggling with agony originally suppressed with opioid pain medicine but reappearing after her pain medicine was cut back in a fashion after the CDC regulations. She was in such discomfort she went to the ER because she could not stand the intractable pain by “learning to live with it” as suggested by CDC consultants. The ER gave her a small prescription. She went to the pharmacy where they refused to fill it “because she had a pain contract”. She went home and killed herself. She was a young mother with a 4 year old son, Bentley. Bentley, will never get over the loss of his mom.

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

“Goodbye” Scott Smith: Vet w/PTSD committed murder/suicide. Killed his wife then himself today 11/27/2017


Pamela Clute had been suffering from agonizing back problems and medical treatment had failed to relieve pain that shot down her legs While California’s assisted suicide law went into effect a couple months before Clute’s death, the law only applies to terminally ill patients who are prescribed life-ending drugs by a physician. Clute wasn’t terminally ill

Kellie Bernsen 12/10/2017 Colorado suicide

Scott Smith: Vet w/PTSD committed murder/suicide. Killed his wife then himself today 11/27/2017

  Michelle Bloem committed suicide due to uncontrolled pain

John Lester shot himself on Jan. 8, 2014.

 Anne Örtegren took her life on Jan. 5  

 Debra Bales, 52 – Civilian – January 10, 2018 – Petaluma, CA – Denied Pain Meds/Suicide

 Aliff, Charles – Could not locate info!
He may be able to help! Charles Aliff – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009343944744…

Brunner, Robert – Could not locate info!

Cagle, Melvin – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…


Harold Hamilton – http://www.dispatch.com/…/chronic-pains-emotional-toll…

Hartgrove, Daniel – http://www.legacy.com/…/name/daniel-hartsgrove-obituary…

Ingram III, Charles – http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/…/article_b7a4a712…

Jarvis, Michael http://www.chicagotribune.com/…/ct-indiana-doctor…


Kevin Keller, 52 – US Navy – July 30, 2014 – Wytheville, VA

Kershaw, Sarah – https://mobile.nytimes.com/…/sarah-kershaw-former-times…

Kimberly, Allison http://feldmanmortuary.com/…/Allison…/obituary.html…

Lane, Keith – Timothy Shields
August 8, 2017 · Colon, MI I would like you too include Kieth Lane . US Army , Vietnam in country , combat wounded . He died recovering from ulcers surgery of a stroke and heart attack in Battle Creek VA medical center in Michigan .

Lichtenberg, Steven – http://www.dispatch.com/…/chronic-pains-emotional-toll…

Markel, Robert – http://www.pennlive.com/…/08/heroin_overdose_deaths.html

Miles, Richard – Could not locate info!

Murphy, Thomas – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…

Paddock, Karon http://www.kpaddock.com/

Denny Peck, 58 – Civilian – September 17,2016 – Seattle, Wa https://l.facebook.com/l.php…


Peterson, Michael – https://l.facebook.com/l.php…

Reid, Marsha – https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/…/daughter-blames…

Simpson, Jessica – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1616190951785852&set=a.395920107146282.94047.100001848876646&type=3&hc_location=ufi

Daniel Somers, 30 – US Army – June 10, 2013 – Denied Pain Meds/Suicide http://gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a…

Son, Randall – http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/…/woman-says-marion-va…/…

Bryan Spece, 54 – USMC – May 3, 2017 – Great Falls, Montana – Denied Meds/Suicide https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/…/patient-suicide…

Tombs, John – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…

 Jennifer E. Adams age 41 of Helena  December 20, 1976April 25, 2018


I reserve the right of editorial censorship

It looks like the political “mud slinging” has already started – IMO – worse than the national election two years ago… I am taking a stand – in particular – against “slanderous name calling”  directed toward specific politicians, particular political parties and/or specific people.  I don’t mind political debate – based on FACTS… when the debate drifts off the road based on FACTOIDS, FAKE NEWS, opinions stated as FACTS.. is where I am going to draw the “line in the sand” and delete comments that go down that path.

While personally, I am not a big fan our our political/bureaucratic system.. IMO.. it is too self serving… Admittedly, politically I tend to lean to the POLITICAL RIGHT but that is because the Libertarian party is seemingly always kept in their place by our dominating “two party system”.

I have belonged to a national pharmacy association for 35 yrs… that promotes the saying “get into politics … or get out of pharmacy ..” If you don’t attempt to influence politicians… someone else will…. and IMO this saying applies to those in the chronic pain community and/or pts who are dealing with subjective diseases.  Legislatures, bureaucrats are doing things that are adversely effecting the quality of life of those pts.  As long as those being affected continue to lack unity and/or a large segment chooses to stand on the sidelines, whoever is successfully “bending the ear” of these politicians … they will continue to do so because they have  little/no concern about the consequences and/or collateral damage that they cause to those suffering and dealing with subjective diseases.

I am sure that the vast majority of my readers will understand and cooperate…those who try to challenge this policy…  It is THREE STRIKES and you are out/banned… and WORDPRESS gives me your IP ADDRESS attached to your comment(s)… Once banned, just posting under a different name – WILL NOT WORK !  Everyone needs to “play nice “

Image result for Play Nice in the Sand Box


Congress Demands Justice Department Return Millions “Seized Unfairly” From Taxpayers- beginning of the end for civil asset forfeiture ?


In the latest salvo against civil forfeiture, 21 Republican Members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday that demanded the Justice Department “immediately return” up to $22 million that was “seized unfairly by the government.” Using civil forfeiture, the Internal Revenue Service raided bank accounts from hundreds of owners for alleged “structuring” offenses, which involves making a series of cash transactions under $10,000 to skirt federal reporting requirements.

“What was done was not fair, just or right in most cases,” the letter declared, which was co-signed by House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX), Oversight Subcommittee Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and former Oversight Subcommittee Chair Peter Roskam (R-IL). “The IRS’s actions led to the destruction of many lives and small businesses, some of which will never fully recover.”

In response to a public backlash, the IRS announced two years ago that it would notify owners who had their property forfeited under structuring laws that they could file petitions to recover what was taken. Appearing before a House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing last month, representatives from both the IRS and Justice Department provided an update on the structuring petitions they had received. The contrast between the two agencies was stark.

After mailing over 1,800 letters to property owners, the IRS received 464 petitions. Upon further review, only 208 petitions were within its jurisdiction. Among those petitions, the IRS decided to grant 174 (or roughly 84 percent), and returned over $9.9 million to property owners.

For the remaining 256 petitions, the IRS sent those to the U.S. Department of Justice, and recommended that DOJ grant 194 of those petitions. Yet the Department only accepted 41 petitions—less than 1 in 6 petitions—and refused to return more than $22.2 million.

Slamming DOJ’s position as “wholly indefensible,” the Members of Congress wrote that they were “profoundly troubled by the significant discrepancy between the IRS’s recommended outcome and DOJ’s final decisions.” “By DOJ’s own testimony, the mitigation process acts as a pardon request, permitting a plea for leniency,” noted the letter. “It provides DOJ with a safety valve that allows for the correction of actions taken by the Government, which in hindsight, we may realize were in error. This is one of those instances.”

Although structuring was promoted as a way to combat money laundering, drug trafficking, and other criminal enterprises, the IRS regularly seized money that had been legally earned by small business owners. In fact, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that out of a sampled 278 structuring cases, 91 percent were “legal source cases,” i.e. they were not derived from illegal activity.

But in October 2014, the IRS announced that it would no longer confiscate cash from legal source structuring cases, after The New York Times ran a front-page story on new lawsuits filed by the Institute for Justice that challenged structuring. As for illegal source cases, the IRS has only conducted 32 seizures since the new policy was implemented.

The shift in policy was an important win for private property rights and due process. But it did not apply to owners who had their cash confiscated before the policy change. In order to help prior victims of structuring get back their money, the Institute for Justice filed “petitions for remission or mitigation” in 2015, paving the way for others to follow. In less than a year, IJ successfully secured the return of $29,500 taken from Randy Sowers, a Maryland dairy farmer, and more than $150,000 that was forfeited from Ken Quran, who runs a convenience store in rural North Carolina. Neither man was ever charged with a crime.

Now the fate of the 194 owners denied their property’s return by DOJ may ultimately lie with Jeff Sessions, one of the nation’s top cheerleaders for civil forfeiture. Last summer, the Attorney General reversed restrictions placed on “adoptive” forfeitures, making it easier for local and state agencies to circumvent state laws that protect innocent owners. He later defended that decision by declaring, “I love that program. We had so much fun doing that, taking drug dealers’ money and passing it out to people trying to put drug dealers in jail. What’s wrong with that?”

Yet even Sessions has voiced qualms about structuring. During a 2015 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on civil forfeiture, then Sen. Sessions said he believed that that “structuring can be abused,” and “people have made some valid points about it.”

” 100 yr dash” for a chain pharmacy technician ?

How do i get faster? I’m told I’m too slow. 80 seconds to grab medication. Count it. And label the bottle and place in the rack is too slow. 150 seconds to greet the customer. Get their medication. Take care of any issues and bag their stuff is too slow. I need to cut that time in half according to my boss.

60 seconds max per customer and 30-40 seconds to dispense. And maybe 30 seconds or less on data entry.

I’ve only improved by a couple seconds in 90 days.

What happened to ensuring patient safety these chains market to their customers?



How to find a local independent pharmacy/Pharmacist

Drug Firms Blame Opioid Crisis on Illicit Websites, Dealers -filing lawsuits

Drug Firms Blame Opioid Crisis on Illicit Websites, Dealers


Two pharmaceutical companies say the real culprits in the opioids epidemic are illegal dealers of the painkillers and want them to be on the hook financially for any damages potentially assessed against drugmakers.

Endo International Plc and Mallinckrodt Plc sued a host of convicted drug dealers and Internet sites this week for illegally offering opioids. Among them: RxCash.Biz, which offers misbranded opioids online, an Italian man indicted for of operating so-called pill mills, and a Tennessee resident who’s serving 10 years for possessing fentanyl with an intent to distribute.

The companies also named Tennessee counties and towns, seeking a ruling that effectively limits the firms’ financial responsibility over claims they fueled a public-health crisis through their marketing of the prescription painkillers.

The suit, filed July 16 in state court in Kingsport, Tennessee, comes almost two months after a Tennessee judge rejected Endo’s and Mallinckrodt’s push to have the Tennessee municipalities’ opioid suit thrown out. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III also sued opioid makers in May, saying their marketing of the drugs as nonaddictive violated federal and state laws.

If lawyers for Tennessee cities and counties persuade a jury to tag Endo and Mallinckrodt with millions in damages over their opioid sales, the drugmakers argue, they “are entitled to contribution from the illegal supply chain defendants,’’ according to court filings.

Gerard Stranch IV, a lawyer for Sullivan County, Tennessee, which is among the municipalities that sued the companies, said the case is frivolous.

“They’re basically suing us for not having enough body bags on hand to clean up after their mess,” he said. “It’s a PR stunt. What they’re trying to do is intimidate other cities and counties from filing these lawsuits against them.”

Opioid Judge Wants ‘Meaningful’ National Accord on Cities Suits

Endo and drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma LP are among the companies in talks with state attorneys general and lawyers representing cities and counties seeking a resolution of cases accusing the companies in the crisis. A judge in Cleveland overseeing the consolidation of local governments’ opioid suits has said he wants a deal that goes beyond money, addressing the companies’ business practices and the roots of the crisis that claims the lives of more than 100 Americans daily.

Endo, which makes the drug Opana, and Mallinckrodt, which produces a generic version of Oxycodone, say that 90 percent of opioid overdoses “involve illegal, non-prescription opioids and the majority of those who misuse prescription medications obtain their pills illegally.’’

Pharma companies have no duty to deter “illegal pill mills and unscrupulous doctors who divert legal drugs for illegal purposes,’’ their lawyers noted.

“This is the first in the nation type of filing that properly describes the cause of the so-called opioid epidemic as the true source, which is the illegal supply chain, which has been documented by regulators, the scientific community and even some of the authorities connected with the plaintiffs themselves,” said John Hueston, an outside attorney for Endo.

Stranch said the companies’ complaint cites a database the cities and counties don’t have access to, and pointed out that the drugmakers didn’t use that information to help stem the epidemic. He said that the companies are challenging findings that the court already made and trying to re-litigate the case.

He said he asked for information about any diversion of opioids to potential pill mills, as well as the identities of doctors suspected in overprescription or diversion activities and the drugmakers have refused to provide them.

Opioids and Heroin and the U.S. Epidemic of Addiction: QuickTake

Barry Staubus, Sullivan County’s district attorney, said the suit is without merit. Under Tennessee law, prosecutors can bring such civil cases on behalf of the residents of their counties.

“We’ve been inundated by opioids and we’ve done the best we can,” he said. “They’re trying to shift responsibility from themselves to someone else.”

Other plaintiffs include two other district attorneys and a baby, who allegedly was born with neonatal syndrome because of exposure to opioids. The two lawyers couldn’t be reached for comment.

“The whole idea is ridiculous,’’ said Paul Hanly, a New York-based plaintiffs’ lawyer and one of the leaders of the Cleveland process. “I don’t see why the drug companies think they should be absolved from liability for the conduct of third parties. I don’t think it will fly.’’

In its filing, Endo and Mallinckrodt seek a ruling barring the municipalities from challenging in the future a jury’s division of damages between the companies and the drug dealers.

The case is Endo Health Solutions Inc v. Alfa Bay, No. C-41916, Div-C, Sullivan County Circuit Court (Kingsport, Tennessee)

KARMA – can be a BITCH !

I did this post a few days ago

My Pharmacist Humiliated Me When He Refused to Fill My Hormone Prescription and ACLU cares about this denial

Below are a few posts from a Face Book page…. apparently from some techs that worked with this particular pharmacist and the issue was from back in April  but chain pharmacies do not like BAD PRESS… it would appear that CVS had put up with this pharmacist’s attitude for some time without taking any action.

“So I worked with the pharmacist in question in this article and I can say that he denied a lot of scripts for no logical reasoning…. he truly is a horrible human being.”

  “this pharmacist is the most egotistical jackass I have ever worked with. He absolutely refused to do anything besides verification because everything else is considered “tech work” he also spoke to the staff in a condensening manner and said things such as “I am a pharmacist, you are a tech, you do not speak unless spoken to”

1) this was from april…. 2) the pharmacist in question has been terminated (rightfully so)… 3) customer relations is as helpful as our cvs help desk (helpless desk) … 4) good for her speaking her mind and bringing this to light

In the trenches: Behind the counter with 3 pharmacists

I normally don’t put IMO at the front of posts but … I wanted to increase the probability of this one being read… this article compares three very different Rx dept and how they function…  Both of the chain pharmacists mention substance abuse in one form or another and technician staffing issues and or justification to come in early – off the clock – to get things together for the day. The independent pharmacy/owner apparently doesn’t worry about either because she determines staffing levels and most likely knows her pts and has a “working relationship” with the local doctors.  While these stories are suppose to be anonymous.. From what is said, I am pretty sure that one is a BIG BOX STORE and the other one is one of the two largest chain stores. The points out the “interference” that the Pharmacist has to put up with from the non-pharmacist store manager and how data driven and time sensitive  the whole process is. Legally, the non-pharmacist store manager has NO AUTHORITY in the Rx dept, but healthcare – especially the chains – in nothing more than a FOR PROFIT BUSINESS… Get them into the store… get their money… and get them out… and if the Pharmacist complains or files a complaint.. she will find herself “sitting on the curb” and we have a serious and growing surplus of Pharmacists… so the majority of chain pharmacists just shut up and go along… This article just reinforces my normal suggestion to use a independent pharmacy …  here is a link to find one by zip code  http://www.ncpanet.org/home/find-your-local-pharmacy 


What keeps a pharmacist up at night? Sounds a bit cliché, doesn’t it? But retail pharmacists are confronted with many different issues throughout their day, from dealing with patients to company and government regulations that can make the job a bit tougher.

Although retail pharmacists across the United States work in many different settings, many face similar challenges. Drug Store News talked to three pharmacists — without identifying them or their employers — to capture a day in their work life and explore challenges they experience, as well as solutions.

Here is what we learned:

Case 1: Independent pharmacist near Seattle
At this bustling independent pharmacy, the pharmacists all focus on non-sterile compounding for the local community. The pharmacist said that many competitors focus on marketing and compounding for out-of-area patients, as well as local consumers, but employees at this operation focus on building relationships with local doctors and serving the community.

The independent employs a distinct, high-tech process for filling prescriptions. A technician performs data entry, including resolving insurance rejections, and then a second technician processes the prescription out of the packaging queue. No paper or labels are printed until the script is ready to be filled, reducing unnecessary use of paper. The second technician is located at a station that has a tech solution called Eyecon, which uses infrared technology to store pill images and ensures accuracy on filling, as well as RxSafe.

RxSafe is a tower containing a large portion of the inventory that can store up to 1,200 stock bottles. Once the label is printed, the technician scans the label, and the RxSafe sends out the stock bottle of medication. Eyecon scans the label and stock bottle for accuracy. It will alert the technician of an error by flashing red, even if the correct drug is scanned, and there is a distraction, and the wrong drug gets poured onto the counting tray.

At this operation, the pharmacist employs the use of a hanging bag system. By the time the prescription reaches the pharmacist for verification, it already is in the bag. This has saved a lot of time in the bagging process and allowed them to eliminate baskets. She has had success purchasing these bags at a better price by searching online for hanging library bags, which can be found at a larger variety and at better pricing. The pharmacist said the system “keeps things looking neat,” and that it is a “seamless process that eliminates a few extra steps.”

What is her favorite aspect of independent pharmacy? “The connection with customers and prescribers,” she said. Once the pharmacy began compounding, doctors started to view it in a more clinical light and started asking a lot of clinical questions they never asked when the pharmacy did not compound. Now, she said, they are viewed “as colleagues, someone who can help solve medical problems.” She enjoys the family environment of her independent pharmacy and being her own boss. She also enjoys the benefits of being a member of Professional Compounding Centers of America, which has a network of 30 pharmacists she can call for help if she needs assistance finding an answer to a tough question.

The pharmacist noted that it is important for independent owners to be alert to the possibility of employee theft. She told of a technician, who worked at the store and was later discovered to have been stealing from the company in a number of ways. This technician processed prescription refunds onto her own credit cards and opened fake charge accounts. At one point, the credit card company was alerted because thousands of dollars were being refunded onto her credit card.

The company, recognizing that this often is caused by employee theft, contacted the pharmacist and the employee’s stealing was uncovered. She noted that this employee was an otherwise star worker, often proudly pointing out ways that she had helped make money for the pharmacy. The technician worked hard to be her right-hand woman, she said.

The pharmacist said that a red flag with this technician was always printing unnecessary financial reports for her job description. She explained that by doing so, dishonest employees can gain access to information they use when developing their strategy.

The independent pharmacist stressed that since internal theft can be very damaging, owners must take extra steps to protect their assets. Employees should not have charge accounts nor should be able to create or edit charge accounts for others — only a very limited number of trusted employees should be able to do so, she said.

She also recommended that registers should be password protected. Only the pharmacist should be able to authorize a discount, price change or refund. She noted that proper security on the register is just as important as learning how to operate it.

A nice niche that she has carved out for the independent operation is bringing in high-end vitamin lines that cannot be found in chains. She started with Thorne vitamins and expanded to several others, with the store now carrying multiple lines of vitamins that typically do not sell to chains. She described it as an “additional revenue source and clinical service,” that the pharmacists enjoy and that helps the pharmacy stand out.

As is the concern with most independent pharmacies, she noted that insurance reimbursements have gone down, but she is “hopeful that PBM reform will come and is somewhat encouraged for the future.” The pharmacist advised fellow pharmacists to get involved with or donate to state and national pharmacist associations to help them promote and fight for the profession.

Case 2: Pharmacist working for a national retail operation for the last 15 years, and is now working in a high-volume store located in the Philadelphia area

At this chain, pharmacists work 10-hour shifts. The pharmacist said she arrives 30 minutes early — by choice and on her own time — to “get in and get settled.”

When she arrives, she knows that her resolution queue awaits and will only grow longer if she doesn’t work on it, undisturbed, before opening time. The resolution queue includes all prescriptions that must be addressed, such as prior authorizations, doctor calls and any troubleshooting issues. She explained that there could be 80-plus items in the queue when she arrives, and there is not a specified time when the prescriptions are due.

Generally, though, the system ranks prescriptions by priority — those due in the next 30 minutes, two hours or 72 hours. If a pharmacist starts to fall behind, the items will turn yellow to signal a deadline getting closer, or red if they are past due. Technicians and pharmacists must be efficient in watching priority and keeping prescriptions in order, she said.

At this operation, technicians are expected to fully answer phones and perform all data entry. She explained that they try to “create an environment leaving the least distractions for the pharmacist because no one else can do what I do.” A policy called “three before me” encourages technicians to collaborate and problem solve by asking three other people — if available — before asking the pharmacist. Usually, another technician can help solve the problem, allowing the pharmacist to concentrate on verification and clinical matters.

Prescriptions are checked in two stages. After the technician performs data entry, the pharmacist does a four-point check, verifying the accuracy of the data entry — patient name, drug/strength, directions, doctor. Any mistakes must be sent back to the technician to correct — pharmacists are not allowed to fix mistakes.

Once the prescription passes the four-point check, it can then go to the fill queue by time priority. After the technician prepares the prescription, the pharmacist visually verifies the prescription by looking at the pill image and comparing it with the pills in the bottle. The technician then bags the prescription.

Prescription input is always a priority over the dozens of prescriptions that are due in 72 hours. “We don’t have the payroll to work three days ahead,” she said, noting that the filling process is all about “minimizing distractions for the pharmacist.”

Pharmacists are required to counsel patients on all new prescriptions at this chain. The pharmacist explained that often, patients will decline counseling, saying they have taken that medication before. However, she encourages them to step over and speak to her for a brief moment, when she can check the patient profile on her computer. Sometimes, a dosage change by the doctor that was unintentional is discovered, and this extra step provides an important opportunity for this pharmacist and her colleagues to evaluate the drug(s) and clear up any questions.

At this retailer, there is a drive for immunizations, and pharmacists are expected to consult with patients about available and appropriate options being offered. Like many other pharmacy retail chains, there are quotas that pharmacists attempt to meet with regards to immunizations. There also is a very big focus on medication therapy management, with pharmacists required to sign on daily to ensure patients are adherent and the company is compliant with insurance requirements.

This pharmacist’s favorite part of the job: “The biggest joy is making a difference for a patient,” she said, explaining that the world is motivated by time and money. Since the chain offers low prices, it makes a huge impact on a patient when she is able to help them save $200 to $300 per month, and they are extremely grateful.

Her least favorite part of the job: “Without a doubt, the opioid epidemic.” She checks the prescription-monitoring program for controlled substances. At the chain, pharmacists must establish a doctor-patient relationship and ensure that it is an appropriate relationship, gathering such information as diagnosis and date of last visit. She said it sometimes is difficult to have these conversations with the doctor and the patient, but they are necessary in using figuring out whether a prescription is appropriate.

The pharmacist “takes every prescription on a case-by-case basis,” looking at the history, consulting the doctor if necessary and checking the PMP. For example, she would not call a doctor for a child on a low dose of Adderall, but if a patient is on a very high dose of oxycodone, she would make the call. With the opioid epidemic at an all-time high, she said pharmacists need to take the time and responsibility to take every step necessary.

Many times, she will refuse to fill a prescription of high-dose narcotics, and she feels confident that her company supports her professional judgment.

What would she change, if given the opportunity? “We are pulled in too many different ways, and everyone expects everything in 10 minutes or less.” Also, she would increase technician help and/or lower expectations — she finds it nearly impossible to perform all the daily tasks. She explained that if a pharmacist is filling 300 prescriptions in 10 hours, plus immunizations, counseling, MTM and checking PMP, it can be difficult to stay afloat.

Case 3: A pharmacist-in-charge at a low-volume national chain store in South Carolina
An interesting concept that this chain employs is called workload balance. Pharmacists use a tool that allows them to check data entry, but if they are caught up on their work, they will check data entry of other stores in the chain across the country. Like other major pharmacy retailers, this operation has a two-part checking system — first, the data entry is reviewed and then the pill image is verified.

Because of the lower volume at the store, the pharmacist has a budget of just 70 technician hours — down from 140 just 18 months ago. Because the technician is busy with data entry, register and drive-through, the pharmacist must do all production by herself because, when there is only one technician working with her, they are both “at capacity.” Additionally, due to the lack of enough help, the pharmacist often finds it difficult to find time to do other tasks, such as making the schedule and completing adherence calls. “We’re all stretched thin, that’s just how it is,” she said.

The pharmacist remembered a time when she took a 20-minute meal break, and there were only 10 prescriptions pending. When she came back, a customer was yelling at her technician and 45 prescriptions were in the queue. It took her three hours to catch up.

On top of all of the catching up she had to do, the store assistant manager came to the pharmacy to tell her to check her tasks, which were showing as incomplete in the company’s computer system. She explained that it is challenging that store managers are not pharmacists, but that the pharmacist reports directly to the store manager. “They just don’t get it,” she said. “Our direct report has absolutely no idea what it’s like to be a pharmacist.”

She also told of a time when a patient became very ill due to a drug interaction that was not picked up by the computer. Although this would have happened to any pharmacist, the store manager wanted to fire the pharmacist. She had to explain that the system failed, not the pharmacist. She would like to see better cross-training of store managers and have them spend more time in the pharmacy, learning how to complete pharmacy tasks and understand a little more about what the pharmacy staff does.

So, what is the favorite part of her job? “I really like helping people.” She gives patients her full attention when giving recommendations. “I always walk the patient to the shelf,” she said, explaining to the patient why she is selecting that particular product. She enjoys teaching the patients and giving them ownership. Although it is her favorite part of the job, she doesn’t get to do it as much as she likes.

One challenge at this pharmacy is dealing with the over-the-counter sale of syringes. State law and company policy require pharmacists to sell syringes to any patient without a prescription. On one hand, she knows that providing easy access to syringes is helpful to prevent such diseases as HIV and hepatitis for patients who have substance use disorders and use syringes to inject.

On the other hand, customers who buy these syringes are using them in the bathroom, leaving needles sticking out of the garbage cans. Store employees also have found needles in the parking lot and on shelves throughout the store. This presents a danger to employees and other customers. Despite talking to management and the human resources department about these issues, they persist. “They give us thick gloves,” she said. The pharmacist hopes that by continuing dialogue and problem-solving, sharps containers will be required to be sold with syringes, and/or sharps containers will be placed in the store bathrooms.

#CBS News Appalling Coverage

This video is not only about the appalling coverage by CBS News but all major news outlets. I could just as easily of named Fox News, the Washington Post or even Andrea McCarren of WUSA Channel 9, Washington DC (another CBS affiliate) who has now blocked me on Tweeter for requesting her assistance in exposing these genocidal policies. Sadly they all REFUSE to contact me even after hundreds of emails, Tweets & even phone calls. America needs to know the truth. President Trump needs to know before he can help. Who among you are willing to spread the horror stories from coast to coast? Remember; just one second! One accident. One diagnosis. In just one second any of you can join us as the 100 million forgotten Americans left to suffer cruel and inhumane torture daily. Robert D. Rose Jr. BSW, MEd. USMC Semper Fidelis

California: pharmacies are not required to report prescription errors.

Family says pharmacy made a dangerous prescription mistake


An east county family is asking a pharmacy to change its protocols after they say the wrong dosage information on their child’s prescription almost put him in the hospital.

This latest case is another example of errors that state officials might not know about. 

“I am angry,” said Shannon Beasley.

Playing with his trucks or hitting home runs in his room is where you’re likely to find three-year-old Michael.

“Michael does not lay around,” she said. “If we can get him to sit for a 45-minute paw patrol episode that’s a good day.”

So when his mom noticed he was more lethargic, she knew something was wrong.

“He kept laying around saying, mom, I’m tired but couldn’t sleep,” she said.

‘Wait, mam. Read that one more time’

Beasley said a doctor diagnosed Michael with an ear infection.

The doctor prescribed Cefdinir, an antibiotic used to treat infections. They had the prescription electronically sent to a Walmart pharmacy in El Cajon.

“My husband gets there, signs in, gets his prescriptions, brings it home,” she said. “I gave him the first dose, later that evening I gave him the second dose because the bottle said two times a day.”

Beasley said three days into the routine Michael wasn’t getting any better. He was tired, refusing to eat, had diarrhea, and was not his normal, destroying-the-house self.

Beasley had enough and called the nurses’ line. She said the nurse asked her to read the prescription and dosage information from the bottle.

“She’s like, ‘Wait, mam. Read that one more time,’ and I read it to her again,” she said. “It was four ml’s (milliliters) twice a day, and she says, ‘No, mam. The doctor prescribed four ml’s once a day.'”

She says the instructions on doses per day were wrong.

“I was giving him more than what he, and I was the one making him sick,” Beasley said.

‘I feel like there is no room for error in this job’

She hung up the phone, contacted poison control and rushed Michael to a doctor.

Michael was severely dehydrated, but Beasley said stopping the medicine the day before was helpful. 

She called the Walmart pharmacy, then received a phone call from the company.

“Walmart’s claim department contacted me with an apology and what not, but unfortunately, I feel like there is no room for error in this job. And luckily I took him off of this sooner, but if not, who knows what the outcome would have been,” she said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Walmart wrote:

“We work hard every day to ensure we live up to the high standards we set for ourselves and that our customers expect. We have quality control measures in place to help ensure that our customers receive the exact medications prescribed. In this individual case, we deeply regret this incident occurred despite our quality control measures. We have apologized to the Beasley family and continue to stand ready to work with them to resolve this matter. We take customer safety seriously and have reviewed our procedures carefully to avoid a similar incident in the future.”

Team 10 discovered the California State Board of Pharmacy issues hundreds of citations to pharmacists each year for dispensing errors.

But those errors are only what the state knows about. In California, pharmacies are not required to report those errors.

In April, the head of the agency told Team 10 the board relies on consumer complaints and court settlements to identify wrongdoings.

“We strongly believe that pharmacists do not deliberately make errors,” said Board of Pharmacy Executive Officer Virginia Herold. “If they do, that would be a formal disciplinary matter, and we would move very quickly to remove them from practice.”

The board received more than 3,000 complaints during the 2016-17 fiscal year

According to information obtained by Team 10, the board received more than 3,000 complaints during the 2016-17 fiscal year. 

During that time, it issued more than 2,000 citations for pharmacist and pharmacy wrongdoings and referred more than 350 cases to the California Office of the Attorney General.

Herold told Team 10 pharmacies are required to keep records of all dispensing errors. 

After a mistake, the pharmacy must initiate a quality assurance review looking at what happened and who is responsible. 

After what happened with her son’s medication, Beasley believes there’s no room for error in a pharmacy.

The easiest way to prevent a dispensing error is to take the time to talk to your pharmacist, according to experts. 

If you want to learn more about pharmacists and disciplinary actions or to report a dispensing error, you can do that on the California State Board of Pharmacy website. https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/consumers/complaint_info.shtml


Prominent Pain Doctor Faces Hundreds of Lawsuits

Imagine spending your retirement defending yourself against hundreds of lawsuits in courthouses around the country – all of them alleging that you played a key role in starting the opioid crisis and that you were indirectly responsible for thousands of overdose deaths.

“It is mind boggling to me and its frightening, actually. I don’t know how I’m going to defend myself,” says Lynn Webster, MD, a pain management expert and former president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. “Right now, we’re just trying to keep our head above the water.”

Webster has been named as a defendent in so many class action lawsuits – along with Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo, Janssen and other opioid manufacturers – that he’s lost track. He knows of at least 80 lawsuits but believes there are many more.

“I think it could be several hundred,” he says.

The latest one was filed this week by Salt Lake County, Utah — where Webster lives — alleging that drug makers employed him in deceptive marketing practices that downplayed the risks of addiction and overdose. Like the other lawsuits by states, counties and cities, Salt Lake County seeks to recover taxpayer money spent on treating addiction, combating opioid abuse and policing opioid related crimes.    



“Utah’s opioid crisis stems directly from a callously deceptive marketing scheme that was spearheaded by certain opioid manufacturers and perpetuated by prominent doctors they bankrolled,” the lawsuit alleges.

“Dr. Webster’s advocacy of opioids was designed to create a veneer of impartiality. But Dr. Webster was a forceful proponent of the concept of ‘pseudoaddiction,’ the notion that addictive behaviors should be seen not as a warning, but as indicators of undertreated pain. The only way to differentiate between the two, Dr. Webster claims, was to increase a patient’s dose of opioids.”

Until he retired from clinical practice in 2010, Webster operated the Lifetree Pain Clinic in Salt Lake City. The lawsuit makes a point of mentioning that at least 20 of Webster’s patients died from overdoses and that he was investigated – but never charged with a crime — by the DEA and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

“Most of what they have in there, at least about me, is false. And I think I can prove that,” Webster told PNN.

A footnote in the lawsuit contains the curious but important disclaimer that “Salt Lake County asserts no claim against Dr. Webster arising from his medical practice. The claims against Dr. Webster relate solely to his participation, as a KOL and otherwise, in Manufacturing Defendants deceptive marketing campaign.”

‘Key Opinion Leader’

KOL is an acronym for “key opinion leader” – a euphemism for doctors alleged to be so influential that they helped convince other physicians to prescribe more opioids. Webster and three other pain doctors — Russell Portenoy, Perry Fine and Scott Fishman — are portrayed in the lawsuits as KOLs who greedily accepted millions of dollars in payments from drug makers in return for their promotion of opioids.

“It’s mind boggling to think how four individuals can be accountable for essentially brainwashing all of the doctors in the country to do something intentionally to make pharmaceutical countries rich. How can anyone think that is plausible? It’s crazy,” says Webster. “Most of the pharmaceutical companies that they’ve listed I never received a dime from.”

According to the Salt Lake County lawsuit, Webster was “handsomely rewarded for his efforts,” receiving nearly $2 million from opioid manufacturers from 2009 to 2013. Webster says that dollar amount is unfair and misleading because most of it stems from his work as a researcher. He is currently Vice President of Scientific Affairs at PRA Health Sciences, a clinical research company.

“If you’re a principal investigator in a research program that has contracted with a pharmaceutical company, that money goes under your name. But its money to conduct a trial. Not a penny of it goes to me,” says Webster. “I have received compensation for consultant work and advisory boards. My consultant work is because of my area of expertise. That’s not unusual. And I do not speak for a company’s product. I do not benefit at all because I personally have no shares in any pharmaceutical company.”

Since retiring from clinical practice, Webster has become an outspoken critic of efforts by the government and insurance industry to limit opioid prescribing — which he believes have gone too far and unfairly punish pain patients, while ignoring the larger issue of illicit fentanyl, heroin and other black market drugs.

He’s written a book, called “The Painful Truth” and self-financed a PBS documentary by the same name.  Webster also comments frequently on PNN about opioid related issues.

With so many lawsuits hanging over him, Webster’s financial future is uncertain.  He says he and his fellow KOLs could be bankrupted by legal fees before any of the lawsuits come to trial.


“We don’t have any big pocket that’s going to pay for anything,” he said. “If a jury decided to award money from us, they wouldn’t get any money, because there is no money. We would be all bankrupt by the time we got to court.”

Drug makers, on the other hand, do have big pockets. And during the 1990’s many of the same law firms now involved in opioid litigation helped win big settlements with the tobacco industry worth upwards of $200 billion.  That includes the law firm of Hagens Berman, which is handling the Salt Lake County lawsuit. The firm also represents the city of Seattle in a nearly identical lawsuit against opioid makers, in which Webster is named as a KOL.

Webster is also named in a string of lawsuits filed by the law firm of Simmons Hanly Conroy, which represents dozens of states, counties and cities. Simmons will pocket one-third of the proceeds from any opioid settlement,  which could run into hundreds of billions of dollars.

Simmons is well connected politically, having donated $219,000 to the re-election campaign of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), who coincidentally released a report in February that’s highly critical of patient advocacy groups and medical associations for accepting money from opioid manufacturers.

It is against these political, financial and legal forces that Webster must find a way to defend himself.

“The body of the allegations are inaccurate, misleading and irresponsibly paint a picture which ignores the realities of Dr. Webster’s compassionate commitment to alleviating suffering in his chronic pain patients,” Peter Striba, Webster’s attorney, wrote in a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune. “It is estimated that there are approximately one-hundred million chronic pain patients in our Country, and it is very telling that their suffering and their medical condition is entirely absent in the narrative of the Complaint.” 

My Pharmacist Humiliated Me When He Refused to Fill My Hormone Prescription and ACLU cares about this denial

My Pharmacist Humiliated Me When He Refused to Fill My Hormone Prescription


On a recent day in April, I left my doctor’s office elated. I was carrying my first prescriptions for hormone therapy. I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be.

I went straight from my doctor to the CVS in my town, Fountain Hills, Arizona, which is a suburb of Phoenix. I handed over the three prescriptions that my doctor, who specializes in hormone therapy, had just given me.

That’s when my day took a turn. After years of working to affirm my identity in a world where transgender people are questioned constantly about how well they know themselves, the pharmacist refused to fill one of the prescriptions needed to affirm my identity.

He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal. He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions.

Embarrassed and distressed, I nearly started crying in the middle of the store. I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor. I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.

When I asked for my doctor’s prescription note, the pharmacist refused to give it back, so I was not even able to take it to another pharmacy to have my prescription filled. I left the store feeling mortified.

When I got home, I called my doctor’s office to explain what happened. The office staff tried to intervene by calling the pharmacist, but he still refused to fill my prescription without explicitly explaining why. My doctor ended up having to call the prescription into the local Walgreens, where the medication was filled without question. I transferred all of my prescriptions there so that I never again have to see the pharmacist who discriminated against me.I have contacted CVS’ corporate complaint line multiple times, but no one has addressed my concerns or offered me an apology.

My family supports me, fortunately, and helped me work through the anger and humiliation this experience caused. But many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am. I don’t want to think about what might happen if this pharmacist mistreats a transgender person who does not have a good social support system.

Today, I filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and am publicly asking CVS to take action and apologize for the way I was treated. CVS has received perfect marks for the past four years in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which is a valuable tool for assessing corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. But something is still not right. Measures should be in place to ensure no other customer is humiliated like I was.

Through training and written policies, the company needs to make it clear to their employees — especially their pharmacists — that transgender customers deserve respect. No healthcare worker should rely on personal beliefs to reject decisions made by doctors and their transgender patients about medically necessary care.

It is interesting to see that the ACLU is interested in a pt being discriminated at the pharmacy dept.. unfortunately I can’t count the number of chronic pain pts that I have read about contacting ACLU and being told that they don’t have the resources  or maybe “the interest” in pursuing any action against the various pharmacies against that type of discrimination.

I wonder if any charges will be placed against the pharmacist because he basically STOLE/CONFISCATED the prescription from the pt…. because it is the property of the pt.

One has to ask.. where was this Pharmacist’s “moral compass” when he was going thru pharmacy school ? or did his “moral compass”changed directions once he got out into the real world ?



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