DEA responds after patients denied prescription pain meds

DEA responds after patients denied prescription pain meds | Health – WESH Home   Feb 18, 2015

Real patients in real pain are being denied their prescriptions (see Pharmacies denying legitimate prescriptions), and we’re asking the Drug Enforcement Administration why.

Three patients took our spy camera to nine pharmacies, but they all received one answer. “Right off the bat, they make me feel like I’m a street drug addict,” said Mark White, who suffers from cervical spinal stenosis.One local pharmacist told WESH 2 the DEA instructed him not to fill certain drug combinations.”The DEA is saying, ‘No, we don’t want you filling this,’ so who am I to go against the DEA?” said pharmacist Dele Obaitan.

In 2010, Attorney General Pam Bondi helped pass legislation banning doctors from dispensing narcotic medications out of their office. It was part of a statewide crackdown on rampant abuse.

While prescription drug deaths have dropped, Bondi now says the crackdown may have gone too far.

“I can’t control what DEA, what they’re doing with the number of drugs released. Everyone means well, but sometimes the pendulum swings too far the other way,” she said.

But the DEA disagrees. “I don’t think the pendulum has swung,” said Jeff Walsh, assistant special agent in charge of Central Florida.

“It’s tragic, but it’s an issue between the patient and the pharmacist, not the DEA,” said Walsh.Walsh said pharmacists are being dishonest when they blame the DEA.

“The current climate out there now, there is an over-abundance of caution,” said Walsh.”But why is this happening? Are pharmacists afraid of DEA?” asked WESH 2’s Matt Grant.”Well, they shouldn’t be. I mean DEA has never exercised any punitive actions against a pharmacy or pharmacist unless their actions have been egregious and habitual,” said Walsh.

Walsh said the DEA does not set quotas on the number of pills pharmacists can dispense.

Agents do offer advice on spotting red flags, and Walsh said pharmacists should be filling legitimate prescriptions.

“The question would be for those pharmacists that are declining it, why? You’re the pharmacist. You went to school. You have the training and experience. If it’s legitimate, and you can articulate that, by all means fill it,” he said.

The DEA is telling pharmacists “you have the training, so you should decide whether the prescription is legitimate” while the DEA can decide after the fact, that the pharmacist was wrong and override his/her decision.

Everyone else – doctors pharmacists, patients, legislators, even the public – knows that the DEA is the cause, while the DEA insists on its innocence and deflects all blame for the problems they’ve caused for legitimate pain patients.

The DEA seems to have wide powers without any responsibility for the havoc and suffering they are causing.  Perhaps we pain patients are simply considered unfortunate, but certainly acceptable “collateral damage” in their un-winnable war on drugs.

This is what happens when you insert the DEA into medical practice – a circle of finger-pointing:

  • The attorney general is blaming pharmacists and the DEA.
  • The DEA is pointing the finger at the pharmacists,
  • pharmacists say they’re scared of the DEA.

The DEA also said pharmacists are the last line of defense, and stress that they should look at the totality of a case and not blindly fill prescriptions.

The courts have said a pharmacist’s duty extends beyond simply following the doctor’s direction.

So, the DEA can override the decisions of both doctors and pharmacists – and without any medical training whatsoever – yet has no responsibility for the results of its actions.

3 thoughts on “DEA responds after patients denied prescription pain meds

  1. Pingback: New rules on opioid pain meds cause grief for veterans | EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

  2. Thomas montalbano

    The reality of the DEA’s actions are always far from what the patients experience . The fact is the DEA is lying to reporters and the public.
    I was told two weeks ago by Publix pharmacist directly, that next month they will be cutting back my prescription by one to two pills per day . He told me that the DEA threatened publix with a quote “investigation” ! If publix did not start cutting back on pain medication quantities . This is illegal and an insult to all patients . 90 percent of all street drugs come from stolen trucks, warehouse break ins and not legitimate patients. The Dea cannot keep taking medication from legitimate patients and counting those numbers as s success that the drugs are off the street. People are going to die by being abruptly cut off of medication they’ve been taking for years. This must be stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I agree that most street drugs aren’t coming from individual prescriptions – the volume out there can’t be explained by individual pills being stolen. I have a hunch mass diversion is taking place from distributors who are afraid to publicize losses.

      Plus, manufacturers and distributors can charge way more on the black market than by legitimate sales. The paperwork could be completely fictional because they don’t seem to get audited,

      While patients are hounded for every pill they take, you’d be shocked how lax oversight is at higher levels. Only recently have pharmacies been required to keep a current count of their scheduled drugs.

      I don’t know where to find this information – probably because it doesn’t exist. But if anyone out there has the inclination and resource, they ought to look at how the manufacturers are tracking and accounting for the vast quantities they produce.



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