I’ve heard quite a bit about pharmacists who’ve refused to fill prescriptions for contraceptives due to personal moral stance. But I’d not heard any who refused to fill a prescription for painkillers until yesterday.
Here’s the story. A relative just had surgery to remove a lump in her breast. Her doctor sent her home with a scrip for Vicodin, which she sent her husband off to fill at the local pharmacy. They refused to give out the drug, sending him home instead with a codeine-containing drug. She’s allergic to codeine, so she sent the husband back to the pharmacy to get the Vicodin as prescribed. They sent him home, telling him the drug didn’t contain any codeine. She sent him back, with the codeine ingredient circled (I wish I could think of the brand name of the drug, but it’s not coming to me). This time, they sent him home empty-handed, saying she needed to have her doctor call the pharmacy and confirm her codeine allergy before they would fill the prescription for Vicodin. By this time, it was after 5PM and her doctor was out of the office, and she didn’t have any emergency numbers to call, so she just took aspirin last night and dealt with the pain.
So my question is–is this normal? I know Vicodin is tightly controlled because of the possibility of people selling their pills, but can’t codeine also be sold in this manner? And isn’t that why a prescription is required in the first place? Why would a doc prescribe it if she didn’t expect it to be filled by the patient?
The whole incident just ticks me off–something doesn’t seem right here.