WALGREENS rejects pain prescription for 4-year-old with cancer (VIDEO)


Pharmacy rejects pain prescription for 4-year-old with cancer


ORLANDO, Fla. —Surgical patients, teens with autism, quadriplegics and terminally ill cancer patients have had their legitimate pain prescriptions rejected by chain pharmacies.

Aiden Lopez, a 4-year-old cancer survivor, learned overcoming cancer was just the beginning. It’s been a tough sprint for Lopez who was diagnosed with stage three kidney cancer.

WESH 2 News first met him back in March when he had just had his right kidney removed and was about to start chemotherapy. These days, his hair is gone, but not his spirit.

When he was released from the hospital, doctors prescribed him oxycodone to help with the pain from surgery, but his parents said that prescription was rejected by three different Walgreens stores. They said it took four tries before they were able to get it filled.

Special Section: State of Pain

“I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, my son’s in the back here crying, throwing up, and you guys are giving me such a hard time,” said Leonel Lopez, Aiden’s father.

“It was heartbreaking and frustrating because you want to be able to help him,” said Valerie Perez, Aiden’s mother.

For months, WESH 2 Investigates has told you about others, including terminally ill cancer patients, who were denied pain medication from chain pharmacies. This week, a Government Accountability Office report blamed poor communication by the Drug Enforcement Administration:

“In the absence of clear guidelines from DEA some pharmacies may be inappropriately denying or delaying filling prescriptions with legitimate medical needs.”

“You would think that as a child just out of surgery that it should be an easy process,” said Perez.

Lopez has two more chemotherapy sessions left and his family is hoping that someday cancer will be a distant memory.

“At the moment we believe it’s gone. We’re hoping it stays that way for the rest of his life,” Lopez added.

Walgreens said it will look into what happened with Aiden. The company said it is looking at ways to combat pain killer abuse while ensuring access to critical care.

The following statement was issued by Phil Caruso, Walgreens Media Relations:

“With the sharp rise in abuse of painkillers in recent years, health care professionals in all practices are continuously striving to find better ways of ensuring those medications are used only for legitimate medical purposes. We firmly believe that addressing prescription drug abuse will require all parties — including leaders in the community, physicians, distributors and regulators — to play a role in findings solutions to combating abuse while balancing patient access to critical care.”

5 Responses

  1. Walgreens words mean very little. As a stage 3 cancer patient who was treated horrendously by multiple Walgreens I can confirm that they are simply spitting lies with no real concern for the sick. It’s as if they want to throw a tantrum after their fine from the DEA; they cant get back at the government so they will hurt patients.

  2. It took me over 100 pharmacies in April till I finally was able to fill my oxycodone. And I’m not exaggerating. .2 weeks…I suffered , I was not able to walk and not only was I suffering in pain, peeing my pants cause I couldn’t walk..I was DEATHLY ILL..I’ve been on oxy 6 yrs…these pharmacies need to be sued

  3. I’ll Say it again. There is a simple on line solution to this problem. All that is needed is for the regulators to set up the system. Using this is easy and reliable and …. Well why not get it? Oh. It would put the folks that are fighting the war out of work. Duh!!!

  4. This is appalling and Phil Caruso, you are appalling. Do you think you were speaking to idiots? If you have employees who have to even think about filling a prescription so obviously written for a child, then you need to find a new career, and no, sales probably wouldn’t cut it for you, nothing that has to do with dealing with people. You have no heart, and you’ve taught your pharmacists to leave their common sense and empathy at home. I believe that anyone who forces a little child to suffer needs to go to prison. If a parent denied their child their medication, would you not feel that parent was irresponsible, unloving and UNFIT? By the same token, so are pharmacists, pharmacies, and corporations who run them, UNFIT. I’m over the excuses, and I know I am not alone. It has come to the point of ridiculous. I know of a sweet elderly woman who now refuses the shoulder surgery she desperately needs. She has never smoked, drank alcohol and though she’s endured cardiac bypass surgery, open gall bladder surgery, abdominal hysterectomy, hip replacement, and rotator cuff surgery throughout her very long life, since the last surgery last year, she cannot bear to have another surgery BECAUSE OF THE PAIN SHE WAS LEFT IN. Horrendous pain. This is a woman who ALWAYS ends up taking the REST of her post-op meds back to the pharmacy to dispose of, because she never ends up taking them all. She doesn’t like to, but when her pain is severe, she has to, or she suffers life threatening cardiac problems and I don’t need to explain further. I could start listing so many more.
    BUT…. cancer patients can’t say no to cancer. A 4 year old doesn’t even get any say in his treatment. And your store didn’t give a crap. Close your stores, all of them, and every person, from the very top of corporate down to the person at each of those counters those parents dealt with need to turn themselves in for child abuse. That’s what it was. And many pharmacies are guilty of child abuse, elder abuse, and put simply human abuse. Stop it. Please.

    You news stations, you social media pages that preach about drug abuse and greatly embellish the numbers – it’s your fault too. Do the right thing, take it all down, tell the truth, and turn yourself in because you, too, contributed to that child’s suffering, and countless others. Until you can report the truth like stations like WESH – just stop reporting, because we can’t believe ONE OTHER STORY, when we have witnessed lies such as these. You too, are guilty of abuse to children, the elderly, the cancer patients, those who have suffered horrible diseases and injuries, you abuse humans.

    Government – all of you, the agencies, senators, all of you who won’t stop this craziness, admit to your lies, your lack of caring, and turn yourselves in for child abuse. You are guilty too. We are tired of the cookie cutter emails in response to ours – it is disgusting to see the stacks and stacks of them. Start serving your country instead of abusing – children, cancer patients, the elderly, the sick, the injured.

    All of you – go to a doctor that can inflict serious pain – the kind that doesn’t stop, let’s say for a month. And go about your day to day activities and get rid of any help you have – do everything it takes to live, work and get through your day – with nothing for pain. Do it. You need to understand what you are doing to people. And then we’ll know. We’ll know if you enjoy the power control and if you love knowing you’ve forced someone to suffer or if you just thought you were smarter than everyone else, when in reality you didn’t have the common sense it took to recognize NEED. Agony. And even, death.

    WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. It is time to stop treating humans like less than a roach.

    Steve, if this isn’t fit, don’t post it. But thank you for keeping us all informed, we know the media isn’t going to except for a small handful. Thank you.

  5. Yeah that 4 year old is going to.go right out and sell those babies for cash for a new game system….NOT….I want to know how those PharmDieties sleep at night with that action!!! May Karma appear to them as the shark from the movie ‘Jaws’

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