A interesting conversation

stevephoneThis week I got a phone call from a young man whose father was all of a sudden the pharmacy that his Father had been getting his prescriptions filled at… refused to fill them any further. Of course, as we all know the earliest that any Pharmacist will fill a Rx is – at most – three days. I am not sure how many days this pt had or didn’t have… but.. he ended up in COLD TURKEY WITHDRAWAL.

This pt has – like many chronic pain pts – a list of co-morbidity issues and for all practical purpose.. is extremely medically fragile … the bottom line is that this pt ended up suffering from a heart attack … luckily … he survived.

All Pharmacists should be very familiar with the potential consequences of cold turkey withdrawal on a pt… the worse being a hypertensive crisis… causing a heart attack, stroke and/or death.

Have we reached the point where pts should be – at the very least – start having an attorney to send letters to these Pharmacists and putting them on notice that if the pt suffers a stroke or especially dies.. that the attorney has been instructed to file manslaughter charges against the Pharmacist for the INTENTIONAL denial of care, pt abandonment, pt abuse for starters..  A Pharmacist is a “learned healthcare professional”… they knew or should have known the potential consequences – including death – for their denial of care.

Every pharmacy is required by Federal/State law to maintain a PERPETUAL INVENTORY on all C-II’s. It will be very easy for an attorney with a subpoena to quickly verify if the pharmacy had inventory on hand to fill the pt’s prescriptions on the date in question.  Verification should take < 5 minutes.

This could also prove or disprove that the pharmacy has been ordering the particular medication and if the wholesaler was rationing the pharmacy and had failed to deliver ordered medication in a timely fashion… and could the wholesaler be also charged with some crime because they knew or should have known that there was a strong possibility that one or more of the pharmacy’s pts could be thrown into cold turkey withdrawal.

It is my recommendation that every pt should audio/video their interactions with the Rx dept staff.  That way their is no doubt about what is say, done or not said or not done.

The question has to be asked… if numerous pts’ attorneys have sent letters to a pharmacy/Pharmacist but a pt died from being thrown into cold turkey who did not have an attorney send a letter.. could the fact that the Pharmacist had been warned about throwing pts into cold turkey withdrawal be used to file charges against the Pharmacist for manslaughter ?

Does the law mandate that the Pharmacist has to be sent a letter regarding a particular pt in order for charges to be filed ?

9 Responses

  1. This looks like something I need to read closely. It’s hard to concentrate at the moment as I’ve cut back on my meds to stretch it out since I have been denied by the pharmacy I switch to and now by the mail order I had been with two years prior. Now I have to start over with a new pharmacy so are they obligated to fill your prescription if you are new? Benzer is claiming he was cut off by the DEA and I don’t know if it’s true or not. If I hadn’t saved up, I would be in withdrawal already a week ago.

    • It was probably his wholesaler that cut him off… since three wholesalers control 80%-90% of the market.. if one cuts you off… you are out in the cold… no collusion there… If the DEA was directly involved… there would have been a full blown raid with people in SWAT gear

  2. I had been going to cvs for around 10yrs. same doc for 6yrs. same meds. for 4yrs. Never once came in early & I had cvs caremark ins. Then out of the blue I was told w/o any warning, that they could no longer fill because my doc was in another county & that they could only fill for docs in a 5mi. radius of the store! I asked if they could at least fill 1 more time so that I would have time to find a new pharm. but they refused. They also refused to help me find another in any way.
    I went into withdrawal shock that stopped my heart twice & I ended up in the ICU where in the effort of trying to raise my heart rate & keep it beating, led to a stroke that damaged my eye sight & short term memory.
    I did NOTHING wrong, yet I almost paid w/ my life!
    Because I could not find anyone that would fill 1 of my meds. due to either never having any or price gouging ($650 & up for a 28 day supply of 30mg. oxycodone X3 per day) I now have to get it compounded which now costs me $250 for a 28 day supply that used to only cost about $15 w/ins. in the pill form.
    We should NOT have to live this way & if I could have sued, I would have as that is the only way that anything will change! We have to hit them where it hurts, in their wallets!!

    I would LOVE to get a bill passed that makes it illegal for a pharm. to turn anyone away w/o a valid & provable reason!
    If they are going to put our lives in danger, then by God, they better have a damn good reason for it!!

  3. To me this is just more evidence that the federal government’s involvement in the practice of targeting doctors and pharmacists has done nothing to curb addiction in the US. What it has done is started a governmental campaign to systematically exterminate a sick and very poor class of people. We have chronic painers dying from cold turkey withdrawal symptoms. We have others who can no longer stand the intense pain and end up taking their own lives. Then we have those who seek relief on the streets only to overdose from self-medicating with impossible to regulate doses.

    Canned or Form written letter responses from elected government officials have proven that Pain has become a filthy/dirty word throughout our elected government officials. I have received 37 response letters from over 1000 letters that I have written to elected officials, including the president and not a single one of them mentioned chronic pain as an actual illness. Not one of them refer to addiction as addiction anymore either. I have absolutely no idea who did this but the moron or group of morons who thought by simply changing the vocabulary they could make illness and addiction disappear. Just like our government to lump everything into one group then vote on it. Now both addiction and chronic pain treatment has turned into Opioid Use Disorder. It’s like putting school lunches and assault weapons on the same Bill then voting on it. No matter which way you look at it, children lose. If the bill is voted down, kids don’t eat lunch. If it’s voted in they shoot each other in the school yard. The fucking intelligence in government fucking amazes me.

    Then today I received a message from another pain sufferer from Missouri about the new pain contract in that state. This new pain contract has a lot of bullshit sentences in it, but the biggest bunch of BS is line 10. This line states unmistakably that the patient being treated for pain with opiates will not be receiving anymore opiates after a 90 day period and after that period must be treated by substance abuse treatment with Suboxone. It also stated that only 2 weeks of opiates will be prescribed at a time and urine testing will be done for every prescription written. We are all screwed!

    • This is extremely disturbing. And I agree with all you said but I’m particularly concerned with the part about suboxone treatment. Last I heard we have the right to take part in our own health care decisions and or to refuse any treatment.

      So what happens if you refuse substance abuse treatment? And whatever happened to slowly weaning patients off of opioids? I guess you have 3 months to do it and then it’s suboxone or nothing.

      I sure as hell wouldn’t want substance abuse in my health records. Not that weaning off of opioids without help is a good idea. (see post below). But I’ve heard that suboxone withdrawals are worse than withdrawal from “normal” opioids. And then there is still the little issue of what to do about pain control after one weans off the offending opioid pain medicine. Jesus. I don’t know what to say.

  4. Really helpful points by everyone here. I do have one question. If a person were to do as suggested by kandiapple, would there be an repercussions to the patient? I believe that once in a while, patients are blackballed by doctors or insurance companies for blowing the whistle, or being too honest, so to speak.

    I believe we have a responsiblity to those around us who we have the ability to help, even if it’s only in some small way. But you’ve probably read ‘Genocide in America” and if not you really should. (Link is on the upper right hand column of this page) And well, life is hard enough at times and I sure wouldn’t want to be in a position where I couldn’t get care or insurance. I’ve lived through both and it’s tough.

    Anyway, just curious.

  5. This post, Steve, points out some good questions. Bob has a point that patients can use also. If a problem exists with any company for any consumer within the jurisdiction of the district attorney, an online form, phone call or mailed letter is always dealt with quickly. I’ve done this with other situations, but now that I see this, I would get ahold of the local district attorney if I had an issue with a pharmacy right away. It doesn’t have to be that you know there is a legal issue; you can file a complaint of any kind. If the DA feels a problem is there to be solved, his/her office is on it quickly.

  6. The legal confusion here, is that most lawyers lack legal standing to file a charge of manslaughter.

    Manslaughter is considered a Crime, not a civil tort. Only the Attorney General of the state, or a subordinate public legal officer, usually called the “state’s attorney” or “District attorney” or “Prosecutor”, who represents the AG in the particular county where the manslaughter happened, has legal standing to bring these charges. Since those public legal officers receive significant sums of money from the DEA, for carrying out the Drug War, they may be reluctant to charge a pharmacist with manslaughter, if that pharmacist is assisting undercover narcotics investigators by providing a list of patients who may utilize street drugs because their supply of legitimate drugs has been cut off. This is a serious conflict of interest, best ended by repealing the Drug War laws in their entirety.

    What IS actionable in civil court, by any lawyer, is a civil claim for Wrongful Death. It won’t put the pharmacist in prison for killing the patient, but it will cost that pharmacist, and likely his employers, some money. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of killing his wife, but in a civil suit over her wrongful death, he lost most of his money and property, to her heirs.

  7. Interesting. I take methadone and have for years to barely keep my pain in check. i used CVS for years but in one year – the last year i used them they started not being able to fill my prescription – not enough in stock they say. But when you have someone who orders like clockwork but can’t get it filled – and only that one, not any others – if they had extra people fill scripts and they were running out continually, knowing that I’d be in on the 25th of the month don’t they know they will be short when I come in? With the wonders of computers – and they have no problem calling me when every other script is due to refilled – yet they put me in the position of going to other pharmacies who don’t know me and are going to question it. So bye bye CVS for all my scripts. I went to another different pharmacy and explained the situation and not once have they not been able to fill it for me.

    I am tired of hearing the stories of pts getting screwed because they need pain meds – by the doctors as well. My pain clinic dr moved out of state. The woman who took over for him, with a smirk on her face decided I was pill shopping – told me the list of things wrong with me weren’t enough to need pain meds. Of course, the complaint I filed probably went in someone’s trash.

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