Pain Clinics: Pharmacies Deny Pain Meds to Patients

Many Florida Pharmacists Deny Pain Patients Properly Prescribed Meds

Feb 01, 2012, 22:00 ET from Florida Society of Pain Management Providers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 1, 2012 PRNewswire/ -- The Florida Society of Pain Management Providers ( is greatly concerned that rising rates of chronic pain patients throughout the state of Florida are being denied their prescribed medications by pharmacists without any legitimate reason.

It should be clear that pharmacies or pharmacists should not be condemned for conducting due diligence as many provide great service and care.  However, it is unfortunate that many others have turned away from their duty to the patients in their community by adopting draconian standards and exclusivity with regard to certain patients.  We commend those pharmacists that have risen above the government intimidation / witch hunt rhetoric and continued to treat pain patients with the respect and dignity all are entitled too.   

While it is understood that pharmacists have the duty not to fill a prescription that they feel is not valid, this right does not empower them to diagnose patients' conditions from behind the counter or disparage their prescribing physician.  There is no legitimate reason to deny a patient their medications when the patient presents a valid, verifiable and properly executed prescription issued by a duly licensed physician (licensed by both the State of Florida and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) along with photo identification.

Recently a pharmacist in Ft. Myers put forth the position that a pharmacist should not fill prescriptions that do not meet the "prevailing level of care."  While such a statement may sound legitimate there are two reasons that make it absolute absurdity:

The prevailing level of care is based on the patient's medical condition:

1) A pharmacist has no access to the patient's medical records.
2) A pharmacist is not a physician and therefore cannot diagnose a patient's condition or override the physician's diagnosis.

What is transpiring in Florida is that certain pharmacies and pharmacists have decided to act as vigilantes in the hysteria driven war on pill mills and pain medications.  In so doing, those pharmacists have determined to co-opt the role of the physician.  That type of behavior should not be tolerated.

Most unfortunate is that Florida's Surgeon General, Dr. Frank Farmer, is fully aware of the situation and has failed to intercede; he remains silent while Floridians with legitimate chronic pain are suffering though withdrawals and intense untreated pain.  It seems that the DOH under his oversight is more intent of prosecuting pain physicians for any infraction no matter how minor and pain patient care is now a secondary matter.

Big Box pharmacies lead the vigilantism movement:

Recently CVS took it upon itself to black list certain physicians in the state. This blacklist was done with no known criteria and gave the listed physicians no rights to due process. This is the same CVS that was fined $75,000,000 for the unlawful sale of pseudoephedrine. This drug is the key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine and the penalty was the largest for a civil violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Additionally CVS/Caremark (parent of CVS) was just recently fined $5,000,000 by the Federal Trade Commission for advertising deceptively low drug prices to seniors.

In Orlando, Walgreens recently faxed out mandated pain medications prescribing requirements telling physicians if pain medications are prescribed other than the way dictated in the fax the prescriptions would not be filled. The pharmacy, with no knowledge or consideration of the patient's condition, is now dictating pain treatment requirements to licensed physicians. This would be the same Walgreens that will deny filling a patient's legitimate prescriptions but will be happy to sell that same patient cigarettes and alcohol on the way out of the pharmacy (75 Floridians die each day from smoking & 17 a day from alcohol abuse).

Examples of what pharmacists tell patients when denying their pain med prescription:

  • The pharmacist states that company policy prevents them from filling their Rx.
  • I can't fill this because you will become addicted.
  • The pharmacist states that your physician is not qualified to prescribe. 
    (All FL/ DEA licensed physicians are qualified to prescribe pain meds)
  • The pharmacist stating they only fill pain meds for those with insurance.
    (25% of Floridians have no health insurance; not filling is a violation of patients rights laws in FL)
  • The pharmacist stating they will not fill because you crossed a county line to see your physician. 
    (County lines are not international borders. No law or rule exist for this to be a reason of denial)
  • The pharmacist states that they only fill for patients who see a board certified pain physician (only 254 in state & 31 of the 67 counties in FL do not have a Boarded pain physician).
  • The pharmacist states your physician is under investigation.
    (A SLANDEROUS LIE: a pharmacist would have no knowledge of any such investigation)
  • The pharmacist demands to see your MRI or other medical records. 
    (Pharmacists are not physicians and requesting medical records is unethical)



About The Florida Society of Pain Management Providers (FLSPMP)
The Florida Society of Pain Management Providers is a Florida not for profit Corporation founded on three principles:

  • To ensure Floridians access to affordable and effective pain management through the use of controlled medications.
  • To ensure physicians the right to treat chronic pain with controlled medications.
  • To ensure that physicians and facilities operate in a safe and responsible manner.

SOURCE Florida Society of Pain Management Providers