Stark has filed a complaint with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy against Walgreens’ Pharmacist, refusing to fill meds she had taken for EIGHT YEARS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SANDUSKY — Chronic pain patient Awna Stark used the same prescriptions, from the same doctor, at the same pharmacy, for more than eight years when the Walgreens pharmacy in Fremont suddenly ended their service to her.

Stark, 45, a Sandusky resident, said the Walgreens would not fill her pain prescriptions and even refused to fill her seizure medications, which aren’t a controlled substance.

A patient of local pain specialist Dr. Bill Bauer, Stark has filed a complaint with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, alleging the pharmacy failed to meet its professional obligations. She’s also filed a complaint under the Americans With Disabilities Act, alleging that she’s a disabled person who was denied service.

Neither complaint has been resolved yet, Stark said.

Stark, who said she was denied service at the Fremont Walgreens at the end of May, is a former nurse who said she smashed her toe in 2008 on a concrete barrier in a Chicago parking lot.

A doctor hit a nerve while performing surgery. She now has nerve problems all through her body.

After trying a variety of technologies and drugs but never managing to “get ahead” of the pain, she said, she now takes morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl patches. It’s a trio of medications that allow her to cope and function. She also takes anti-seizure medication.

Stark met her husband, Sandusky native Shawn Stark, in downtown Sandusky.

“He bought me a drink. We were married six months later,” she said.

The couple, now together 20 years, have a blended family with four children.

Stark had knee surgery a few days ago, and she’s been trying to take care of him.

“He’s taking care of me more than I’m taking care of him. I’ve had 14 surgeries now. He’s a good guy,” she said.

The Starks say they are very aware there’s an ongoing drug epidemic. Shawn Stark’s mother died of a drug overdose, and one of the Starks’ children has battled addiction.

But Shawn Stark said it’s unfair to punish pain patients because of the drug epidemic.

“It’s heartbreaking on a daily basis to see my wife go through this,” he said.

“I’ve seen her where she can’t have a fan blowing on her, it hurts too much,” he said. “To see those lumped together infuriates me. I want to see legitimate patients who have problems get their medicine.”

Stark said the pharmacist who cut her off refused to talk to her. The Register called the Fremont Walgreens and was told the pharmacist is on vacation.

The Register also contacted a spokeswoman for Walgreens.

Walgreens spokeswoman Molly Sheehan responded, “We support our pharmacists in exercising their professional judgment while also trying to balance patient access to medication.”

Ali Simon, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, said she cannot comment on cases being investigated by the board.

Simon said a pharmacist is not required to fill every prescription that comes in.

“Based upon information obtained during a prospective drug utilization review, a pharmacist shall use professional judgment when making a determination about the legitimacy of a prescription. A pharmacist is not required to dispense a prescription of doubtful, questionable, or suspicious origin,” Simon said.

She noted a patient can transfer a prescription to another pharmacy — which is what Stark did.

The Register has published stories about other local chronic pain patients. In June, the Register published an article about a cancer patient, Tina Bango, who was refused medication at a Rite Aid on Perkins Avenue. The local pharmacy and the Rite Aid company both refused to comment for the article.

“That’s the one that ticked me off. I started crying with that one,” Awna Stark said. “That was the same week I had the first issue dealing with all of this.”

Stark’s doctor, Bauer, said Stark stands out because she is trying to fight back after being denied medication. Many are busy dealing with their illness or don’t know what to do, Bauer said.

Bauer said he’s frustrated pain patients who are denied medication aren’t getting more attention. Bauer recently launched a petition at Change.org to speak up for chronic pain patients.

“For some reason, the country’s more interested in Epstein than they are these people,” Bauer said.

Coming in Tuesday’s Register: Do doctors in Ohio face sanctions if they refuse to treat pain patients?

What a bunch of BOGUS EXCUSES …   Walgreens spokeswoman Molly Sheehan responded, “We support our pharmacists in exercising their professional judgment while also trying to balance patient access to medication.”

AND 

Ali Simon, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, said she cannot comment on cases being investigated by the board.

Simon said a pharmacist is not required to fill every prescription that comes in.

“Based upon information obtained during a prospective drug utilization review, a pharmacist shall use professional judgment when making a determination about the legitimacy of a prescription. A pharmacist is not required to dispense a prescription of doubtful, questionable, or suspicious origin,” Simon said.

If the pt had been taking the same medications for EIGHT YEARS written by the same doctor and filled at the same WALGREENS… the pharmacist’s judgement is more likely based on some personal phobia or biases…

Stark said the pharmacist who cut her off refused to talk to her.

My money is on the fact that the Pharmacist refused to talk to her because she could not come up with a VALID REASON for the denial of filling her prescriptions… and didn’t/couldn’t justify her actions.   With the trio of opiates that Stark was taking, she was going to be thrown into some very serious – possible life threatened – cold turkey withdrawal… not to mention the elevated pain.. From the description of the onset of the cause of her pain… she may be suffering from RSD … and that disease on the McGill pain scale is near the top of the list of severity and often referred to as a “suicide disease” because the intensity of pain is claimed to be more intense than child birth… except it is 24/7 situation.

 

8 Responses

  1. Dear Awna,

    I meant to tell you to GOOGLE:

    DR. THOMAS KLINE PALLIATIVE CARE

    If you don’t put palliative care you won’t see his information on this. He’s the one who gave me all my information. I printed out the pertinent information and certificate and presented it to my primary care doctor who at that time was prescribing my opioids. I have to say that God gave me a wonderful doctor who is a very sympathetic man.

    I pray this helps you!

  2. Thank you Steve! You are correct! When I spoke with Ms. Messina (the pharmacist..who was/is not my normal pharmacist, mind you) on 5/31/19, she said she didn’t feel comfortable with dispensing medication any longer to me as she felt that I was violating the Walgreens “Good Faith Dispensing” protocol.

    I thought it was very interesting that Ms. Messina was the one denying the scrips as I mentioned since she was not my “normal” pharmacist. My husband works at Whirlpool and one of the benefits they offer is on site medication delivery. Our regular pharmacist, of many years, that had a great knowledge of my disease, a knowledge of my medications, my family, who took the time to check in on me and to see if was OK…and KNEW MY PHYSICIAN. Mr. Jeric just happened to be on vacation which left me in the hands of the caring Ms. Messina which left me without any medications.

    I would not have raised such a stink (no, I take that back, I still would have) however, she would not fill my Topamax and Dilantin. These are not controlled substances – seizure meds for pete’s sake!

    “A pharmacist is not required to dispense a prescription of doubtful, questionable, or suspicious origin,” Simon said.”

    There was nothing doubtful, questionable or of suspicious origin with my seizure medication.

    Another interesting fact about the situation – I have a wonderful physician, a neurologist that goes the distance for ALL of his pain patients. After standing up for me (and many others) he gets indicted!

  3. In New Mexico the state board of pharmacy is much too corrupt to deal with any of this. Most of our politicians took money from these big box drug stores, so they will continue to protect them.

    Walgreens, CVS and Walmart sold millions of doses of opiates, back in the early 200os, and a lot of that was diverted to the black market. This had nothing to do with patients, pharmacists or physicians, because the drugs were taken directly out of the supply chain. They paid a few fines when they were caught red handed, but were able to keep the facts out of the mass media.

    We are dealing with massive corruption at every level, from the regulatory agencies that now work for these industries, politicians paid off by these mega corporations, and a media that will not cover the facts. The industry chose to target pain patients and sick people to protect their profits. They undermined the rule of law, regulations and public perception.

  4. […] Stark has filed a complaint with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy against Walgreens' Pharmacist, ref… […]

  5. I agree with you COMPLETELY Steve! She definitely has CRPS Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I have had it 20 years and because it’s so rare (200,000 cases known of in US), my original neurologist MISDIAGNOSED me with just peripheral neuropathy. I couldn’t bear to have the bedsheet touch my foot!

    I hope someone can tell her this is what she has because when she gets correctly diagnosed she can have her doctor write her up with Palliative Care diagnosis (see Dr. Thomas Kline). That’s what I did and it makes a world of difference to tell that to pharmacists, insurance companies, etc. As you and others know I have it and you are correct in saying that it’s the highest rated pain on the McGill Pain Scale above amputation cancer and childbirth! It feels like you’re burning in fire!

    • Hello Jan, I do have Rsd/CRPS! You guys nailed that right on the head. I am sorry to hear that you have this devastating disease as well. I wish there was a way, any way possible, to find a way to relieve our pain. Amazes me how many people I have met recently that suffer from this horrific disease.

      I have never heard of having a Palliative care diagnosis for Rsd/CRPS. I knew one could have it for cancer, dementia, etc, but not for chronic pain. If I share my email/facebook/contact/info with you could you help with more info?

      Thanks a heap Jan. I look forward to our talks and getting to learn more about Palliative Care.

      • Suggest you read this https://palliative.stanford.edu/overview-of-palliative-care/overview-of-palliative-care/world-health-organization-definition-of-palliative-care/
        World Health Organization and what pts are qualified/entitled to palliative care..
        Today palliative care should be available to the high acuity pts… the sickest of the sick … and need/require a higher level of care or more time from the practitioner
        Decades ago it was restricted to hospice pts… but anyone still believing that is living – practicing medicine – in the 20th century 🙁

      • Yes Awna, I would be happy to but I just unsubscribed from Pharmacist Steve’s, temporarily because I’ve got too many emails coming in. But Steve is the BEST RESOURCE FOR PAIN (Articles and comments!!! So I will re-subscribe and then you can print your email address and I will get in touch. We can call each other and I will tell you all I know which isn’t a lot,but my doctor did it for me.
        See the link Steve put up, and GOOGLE DR. THOMAS LINE.

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