Pharmacies Sued for Discrimination Against Pain Patients

Pharmacies Sued for Discrimination Against Pain Patients — Pain News Network – by Pat Anson – Aug 2020

This is wonderful news, to finally push back against the anti-opioid forces aligned against us.

Class action complaints against Walgreens, Costco and CVS Pharmacy were filed in California and Rhode Island on behalf of two women seeking legal relief that will allow them to get their opioid prescriptions filled without delays or restrictions, and without the fear that their prescriptions will be denied. 

Pain patients in the U.S. have complained for years about pharmacists refusing to fill their opioid prescriptions or reducing them to lower doses. It’s also not uncommon for patients to encounter delays and excuses, such as a pharmacy claiming it was out of stock of a particular medication.  

“I have always thought that this is one of the better potential legal avenues for an ADA action regarding prescription opioids.  It is a violation for any person with a disability to be denied service by a place of public accommodation, and pharmacies are clearly covered as places of public accommodation under the ADA,” said Kate Nicholson, a patient advocate and civil rights lawyer who handled discrimination cases at the Department of Justice for over 20 years.

I think this is fantastic news; we’re finally finding a way to attack this vague, yet apparently powerful entity of anti-opioid restrictions and sentiment. Ms. Nicholson’s optimism makes me optimistic because she’s in a position to know how such court cases turn out.

Corporate Policies Profile Patients

While pharmacies have a legal right to refuse to fill prescriptions they consider suspicious or inappropriate, the lawsuits allege that CVS, Walgreens and Costco adopted corporate policies that encourage their pharmacists to profile patients as drug abusers and impose limits on opioid medication.

In a recent letter to the CDC, the American Medical Association called the CVS and Walgreens policies “inappropriate” because they misapplied the CDC opioid guideline in ways that were harmful to patients.

Other big pharmacy chains have similar policies. Walmart has been accused of “blacklisting” doctors for writing high dose prescriptions. And a tearful video posted online by a California woman with stage 4 breast cancer went viral after a Rite Aid pharmacist refused to fill her prescription for Norco.

The law firms that filed the cases against Walgreens, Costco and CVS are seeking additional information from patients interested in joining the legal action at this website. [links to site shown below]

Seeking Justice for Pain Patients

National class-action filed against CVS & Walgreens in Rhode Island and California! Click to view complaints filed!

Chronic pain patients have been denied their vital pain medications.

We are pleased to announce the filing of two National Class Action Lawsuits, the intent of which is to right that wrong.  

There are a large number of people who need pain medications because they suffer from chronic pain.  

We have very carefully assessed the problem and believe an appropriate response is to assert the claim that chronic pain patients have been discriminated against in violation of federal law.  We have filed against the largest national pharmacy giants, CVS, Walgreens and Costco.

These suits are filed on behalf of individuals who were unable to have or who have experienced difficulty in having their legitimate prescriptions for opioid medication filled to relieve their suffering from:

  • chronic pain;
  • pain associated with a cancer diagnosis;
  • pain from sickle cell disease;
  • palliative or nursing home care;
  • pain from nerve injuries;
  • pain from osteoarthritic changes.


If I want to participate in the class action lawsuits, what do I do?


You do not need to call anyone.  

If you want to participate and you fit within the class definition you will be automatically included.  If you do not want to participate, you will be given the opportunity to opt out.

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