#Walgreens: pharmacist told me he can no longer fill it (opiate) because I do not have cancer

Hello Steve do you know who I contact to complain about filling my prescription? For the last 2 years I have been filling my prescription at Walgreens and the pharmacist told me he can no longer fill it because I do not have cancer. I am 60 yrs old have had 2 back operations my prescription is oxycodone 30 mg two times a day it’s crazy what he told me. Thanks


I can tell you who to complain to …but… NO ONE CARES… and WILL NOT DO A THING…

Let’s start with Walgreen’s corporate… their Rx sales are up 7%+ and they just picked up 2000 former Rite Aid stores.. they are good for the next year or two with the stock market looking for them to increase sales/profits…  We have a serious – and growing – pharmacist surplus… and if they were unhappy about their pharmacists running customers off – especially those having controlled Rxs filled – they would replace those pharmacists… but.. they are not… you  can call them and they will tell you that they can’t force a pharmacist to fill a prescription – and they are right… but don’t have to keep those who do employed…


You can file a complaint with the pharmacy board… but most of those boards are stacked with non-practicing corporate pharmacists and they are not about to do anything against those who sign their paycheck.. and they will also tell you that they can’t make a pharmacist to fill a prescription.. although they could investigate a pharmacist for denial of care for failing to fill a legit/on time/medically necessary Rx and fine, suspend and/or charge them with unprofessional conduct … but… they won’t


You can file a complaint with your insurance company because Walgreen is listed as one of their preferred pharmacies network… and they will tell you that they can’t make a pharmacist fill a Rx… and they could threaten to toss Walgreens out of their network … but… they won’t… because they continue to get monthly premiums to provide you with necessary medical services and if they don’t have to pay for your Oxy… they end up making more money… and after all … they are a FOR PROFIT business …


Walgreens is discriminating against someone who is disabled and it is a civil right violation under the Americans with Disability Act and you can file a complaint at the federal level but it is under the Dept of Justice … just like the DEA… so hell will probably freeze over before one federal agency takes on another federal agency violating laws… especially since they are under the same Cabinet position.


IMO.. your only option is to find a independent pharmacy where you will be dealing with the Pharmacist owner and unlike the Walgreen’s – or any other chain pharmacist – doesn’t get paid by running customer off…

Here is a website to help you find one by zipcode   http://www.ncpanet.org/home/find-your-local-pharmacy

Transfer all your prescription to one.. .Walgreens doesn’t deserve your patronage and you should not have to beg someone to let you give them your money.

26 Responses

  1. i have severe chronic insomnia. i have been having a prescription filled by the same doctor for years.i use walgreens #11646 because it is convenient for me and my doctor,however i just had the most traumatic pharmacy experience i have ever had at walgreens. i called in my prescription for my medication when i had run out.it was one month after the last fill date. the pharmacist named gigi,whom i have had issues with before refused to fill my prescription because she was “uncomfortable” filling my prescription. i guess she was more comfortable putting a patient through the torture of sleep deprivation. she then proceeded to accuse me of stockpiling medication. i attempted to wait the amount of time she told me i had to wait to refill,but after two days of sleep deprivation i was breaking down. i called my doctor and told him about the problem and explained that i was becoming ill due to not sleeping.i also had to call walgreens customer service corporate. finally three days later my doctor was able to force them to fill my script. terrible experience. i really want to change pharmacies….. guess someone forgot their oath….OATH OF A PHARMACIST

    “I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow:

    I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.
    I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.
    I will respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me.
    I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.
    I will hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical and legal conduct.
    I will embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.
    I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.

  2. Yes, sadly there are alredy mounting suicides across the country of chronic pain patients cut off from their medications. Soon there will be millions of Baby Boomers needed help in the Golden years only to have stress heart attacks from the toll of constant chronic pain. Millions of deaths will be directly caused bt cruel CDC “Guidelines”.

  3. Thank you so much! I have RT this several times. I am begging Roseanne Barr to please shine a light on this atrocity. No pain meds unless you have cancer? A Dr Lake has MET Cancer was just given Suboxone for his pain. Suboxone?! and some 5 mg percocet for breakthrough?! What is happening to our country? I am terrified and I am not a pain patient, thank God. People are suffering. This is just one story out of thousands
    have read. COPD patient broke her back, was refused medication to help her do breathing treatment, she got double pneumonia and is dead. Her daughter begged for pain meds, told the hospital that the 4 fractured vertebrae were stopping Mom from doing deep breathing exercises 3 times a day. Oh it was the Franciscan Brothers Hospital. They called her doctor, doctor said the hospital won’t allow pain meds.

    Woman with brain surgery given tylenol. Woman 90, amputated leg, given tylenol, later died I am reading story after story of doctors once kind caring compassionate noe cold unfelling cutting people off with no taper. I understand they are afraid but a taper would have stopped the stroke of a 28 year old woman.. I am so afraid. Are they next going after Xanax? or other benzos? What country are we in?! I feel as if we are living through a episode of the boady snatcher. Even regular humans no longer have compassion. Is it something in the water? Sorry this is too long. Again, thank you! Bless you! We all appreciate so much what you are doing!!

    • It’s the REAL opioid epidemic and pain itself is a killer taking a huge toll on cardiovascular systems! People are now dying of UNDERDOSES! Thanks Dee199, for your comment. All we (the chronic pain patients, disabled, sick and elderly) ask of you is to publicly share these articles. Please be sure they are responsibly written and referenced with factual data. We must turn the attention to the street drugs, Heroin, illicitFentanyl and Cocaine etc.

      • I agree, a woman died last night, she had chest pains couldn’t move, the hospital assumed her to be a drug seeker and died. I am seeing people on twitter with problems, go to the ER and instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with the person they are accused of being a drug seeker. How is this possible? I am mourning this poor woman this morning. It is devastating. This could be me! This could be any of us, dying in pain, yet assumed to be looking for drugs. The horror is more than I can think of.

  4. […] #Walgreens: pharmacist told me he can no longer fill it (opiate) because I do not have cancer […]

  5. Did it to me too

  6. Walgreens did the same to me even worse they made me give back my Xanax in order to fill my Norco prescription. This was about a year ago. I’m 70 years old I just had serious shoulder and arm surgery it was the same day I came out of the hospital they would not fill my prescription unless I was present with my ID I went through the drive-thru my friend drove me I was in a great deal of pain you could see it on my face and that pharmacist was a dog to me I willingly gave them my Xanax which was I feel full prescription just to get my pain pills because that’s how much pain I was in. Thank God I found a pharmacist that delivers to me and doesn’t give me any trouble I don’t know what this world is coming too

    • I believe that any pharmacist is, or shoul be, subject to arrest for accepting a prescription medication in trade for another from ANYONE regardless of the reason, since this is illegal for anyone including a doctor to do. If it ever happens again you should report them.

      • You are exactly right, they should be brought up on charges .. Matter of fact I would not wait fir there to be a next time… Who knows how many times they have done this very thing to others! Makes me wonder what came to be of your Xanax I mean correct me if I’m wrong but I assume u have insurance in which they had obviously already billed for u to get your Xanax in the first place, so what then happened to the ” FREE ” returned Xanax ??????

  7. Perhaps the rest of the story is untold. Beginning in 2018, many public assistance prescription plans began denying payment for opiates unless the person has cancer.
    Obviously then the person can pay cash for opiate prescriptions.
    Many physicians were aware of this going to happen in 2017. Those smart physicians began to step down the dose for those patients who would not meet this cancer requirement in 2018.
    There is still the process of asking for a prior
    Since the Walgreens Pharmacist did not offer you any explanation or suggestions on denying to fill your on going opoid prescription, find a more caring pharmacy in your area. Good luck and sorry for your frustrations.

  8. Wow. As a pharmacist, I can assure you there is A LOT MORE to that story. It’s far more likely that the MD who wrote the RX is under DEA investigation or the MD is practicing outside of the scope of his/her practice (family practice MD who’s trying to function as a pain specialist, etc). And you are correct – there’s nothing you can do to force the Pharmacist to fill a script. Just the same way that a MD cannot be forced to write you a prescription, a pharmacist cannot be forced (or coerced) into filling a script.

    • Got a question for you,,,,If u refuse to fill a prescription for medicine to lessen physical pain,and that human being u just denied access to effective medicine for physical pain goes into cardiac arrest from forced endurement of physical pain,,,can we sue you,,for murder??or at least torturing a humanbeing to death by deny them their medicine??I ask because I do have a history of cardiac arrhythmias with forced physical pain,,that wll turn into inverted t-waves,,soo I am really curious what your answer will be,,,maryw

    • I used to.be a mgr/pharm tech at walgreens.. for over 10yrs….

      I 10000% agree there’s a lot missing from this story.

      Once had a script for oxy written out from a psychologist….. You bet your sweet a $$ that was denied and calls were made to report the psychologist.

      Walgreens and small pharmacies alike do not have to fill a script just because you have one. They have every right to deny service and don’t need to give a reason, either.

      I want the rest of this story.

    • This is going on everywhere and includes terminal cancer patients. I promise you this is killing people everywhere!

    • The new limits are not supposed to affect prescriptions of opioids for chronic pain patients, including those with long-term back injuries or people in nursing homes or hospice care…
      Though PA is a requirement now from the treating physician explaining why you need this medicine…
      The new guidelines are directed at new paitients being prescribed opioids for the first time…
      It’s ludacrist what pharmacists are are putting good people through.. They are not Doctors… Pharmacists are not listening to to new guidelines. I know they can read!
      But sadly they’re taking matters into their own hands with their now ever growing egos and acting like they they are higher up than the Doctors…. Very very SAD

  9. The poster doesn’t mention what state they’re in, which is important when discussing issues of pharmacy law. The easiest thing to do is call 1-800-walgreen and file a complaint. If the prescription is valid there is no reason for it not to be filled unless there is some other legal issue at play. Remember, many states instituted new laws at the nehinning of the year.

    • In 2016 the KY board of pharmacy received 15 complaints of DENIAL OF CARE and 14 were dismissed without taking any action.. I have not been able to find out what happened to the one they took action on. In June 2015, a chronic pain specialists in FL asked the attorney for the FL BOP if there was anything that could be done about a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription – denial of care … to paraphrase what the he said… there is nothing in the practice act that addresses that.
      The majority of pharmacy boards are stacked with non-practicing corporate pharmacists… close to 70% of the community pharmacies are chain pharmacies and the primary function of the BOP is to protect the public’s health and safety. IMO.. these BOP could fine, suspend, charge them with unprofessional conduct… but.. it doesn’t seem to happen. The vast majority of BOP’s will not address all the med errors that are happening in increasing numbers because of increased Rx volume without a complimentary increase in staffing hours and the general consensus is that the BOP has no authority over how a company runs their business and they say that there is no relationship to Rx mis-fills… Rx volume and staffing hours – or lack of appropriate staffing hours

      • Steve, I’d thought about doing the same with the state medical board. Investigate resolution to complaints. Begin filing them for patients who’ve can’t function due to cuts; then, if (when) they ignored all the complaints about patient abandonment, we’d at least have some proof of the fx of anti-opioid policies on practice. Get media coverage. Complain to legislators. They can’t ignore this forever. Some important people are going to suffer before the pendulum swings back. Forest says only state can help us. Not federal. What do you think?

        • IN KY in 2016 the KY Board of Pharmacy got 15 complaints for denial of care and 14 were dismissed without any further action… I was never able to find out what happened with the remaining one… but you know that if 15 complaints were filed that at least 100 times that number happened… maybe 1000 times that number happened. I was a FL BOP meeting summer of 2015 and a pain doc as the attorney for the BOP if a pharmacist lying to a pt about having inventory was unprofessional conduct and all the attorney could say was that it was NOT COVERED IN THE PRACTICE ACT.

          • So much follow-up work. But I have alliances with a couple great attorneys, a good pain doc, and people involved with the legislative process and now looking for some bioethicists and public policy analysts to wait in the wings for when the time comes. I have a vision but you’re just as creative a thinker as I AND you have medical training. Now I just need media; bc, I anticipated they’d do just that…ignore the complaints until they couldn’t ignore them anymore…i.e, generate some bad press for the state board of medicine. They’re appointed, are they not? My hope is that either I get media on board or generate the story myself. Either way, it’s a lengthy process but could potentially serve us. Just seems we have run out of time for lengthy processes but this kind of initiative has the potential to serve as evidence in future litigation that will get this ball rolling. Media absolutely must be on board though. Once the dialogue begins to change, we have opportunities but without that, I feel that the readiness factor isn’t even there for us to achieve success bc the bias is so heavily built into even the language, the way material is presented…all that which you already know about. I’d love to brainstorm with you though.

  10. complaints should still be made-In Canda if the Governing body of the medical professional tosses the complaint the next step is appeal, then if one still is not satisfied, the next step is court where a judge will hear your case. We must take it all the way. Only by doing so will more people understand what is happening

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