Medical Discrimination: My Battle with the Pharmacy

f65d07d7-88d1-4a05-bec2-d97c8c41a972Allow me to start this post with a warning… This is a vent post to an extent, but moreover I feel the need to bring something to the light… the discrimination within the health system of the United States of America.  I have gone through one of the most frustrating situations that I have ever encountered and I am beyond mad about it.

You may recall in my post, The Medical Marijuana Dilemma, I had neither intention nor interest in narcotic pain relievers.  At the time, medical marijuana was working well in combination with my Ibuprofen.  When I had the EGD back in October, it showed stomach inflammation, likely caused by NSAIDs, which is exactly what my Ibuprofen is.  My doctor said no more Tylenol or NSAIDs for me.  This leaves me with two choices:  stay in pain or accept a prescription of narcotic pain relievers.  After quite the debate with my doctor, I  begrudgingly succumbed to my new fate, and attempted to get this prescription filled.  Boy… that was a joke!

wp-1581892766628.jpgMy doctor sent the prescription over right away and sent me home.  I waited a couple of days for the prescription to be filled.  When I first called to inquire, I was informed that this prescription requires a “Chronic User” document from my doctor.  My doctor sends this over immediately.  Then two more days pass and I call again.  This time they tell me that it requires a prior authorization form from my doctor to my insurance.  Of course, she sends it right over to them but there is still no approval on my medication.  At this point, I’m really starting to get frustrated, so I call my insurance.  (Mind you, by the time I called my insurance, I had already been waiting for a week… in excruciating pain, not even permitted to take an over the counter remedy for this pain).  When I speak to my insurance, they inform me that neither the chronic user document nor the prior authorization are necessary at this point because I have not received 42 days of this treatment.  Now I’m ready to tear my hair out.  The people at the pharmacy are starting to be very rude to me and hang up on me when I inquire about this medication, so much so that I make my husband take over all communications with this pharmacy.  Finally, the insurance company tells us that all we need is an exemption code from the doctor’s office.  Done and done is all I thought, and finally I was right.  My prescription was filled last night and I am finally out of pain after almost two weeks of fighting with the pharmacy.

images (2)This whole situation has brought to light a major issue in our health system that I was not even really aware of…  The discrimination that the chronically ill receive is horrendous.  Yes, I am well aware of all the people that abused these drugs and made it bad for the rest of us.  I get it and I am all for the intensified practices surrounding these particular medications.  However, I will NEVER agree that anybody should ever be disrespected, talked down to, or hung up on simply because they are trying to follow their doctor’s orders.  The pharmacist at one point even told me that I should just get medical marijuana!  I looked him in the face and told him that I had been on that for years and that it was no longer working.

image-1I don’t normally name drop when I vent on here, but this time I am calling out Wal-Mart pharmacies everywhere.  They have their own belief systems and fill what they want, when they want.  They played games with me for two weeks.  They changed the rules every other day and it took a phone call from my doctor herself to get my meds filled.  Why do they get to decide when we get pain relief?  Why have we given pharmacists the authority to decide for us?  They don’t even get much medical training, certainly not as much as the doctor’s and specialists that I am currently seeing, yet we give them the right to decide our medical treatments?  As a country, we need to find a better way to deal with this.

For now, I’m just thankful that I finally got my medication filled and I am in little to no pain now.  I am transferring pharmacies immediately so that I do not have to endure anything like that again.  I’m pretty sure that I won’t even shop at Wal-Mart after this experience.

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