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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:10 pm 
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Hello,
If anyone here knows anything about this new law, please let me know - I want to find a reference to it.

Just found this out today from my pharmacist:
The DEA has a new law, my pharmacist says it's causing a lot of angst - he said that pharmacies can no longer TRANSFER a Suboxone prescription unless it has been filled once at original pharmacy. My doc faxed my rx into my Florida Walgreens, like normal, and I called to have it transferred to my Walgreens in Colorado, like I have had to do many times over the last year, as I travel between the 2 states a lot.

The MISTAKE I MADE, was that before I called to have it transferred, I called my FL Walgreens, because they had ALREADY FILLED my script, I thought it would make it easier if they knew that I wouldnt be picking it up there, so they could pull it - I know that sometimes they run out of stock, and I would hate to think that my 30 days worth of films were sitting there in a bag when some other patient might need it - Thats the mistake that caused me to not be able to transfer my script, according to my CO pharmacist.

After calling the FL Walgreens, I called my CO Walgreens to have them transfer the script, like I always do - Thats when the pharmacist told me that there's a NEW DEA LAW that prevents pharmacies from transferring Schedule III drugs, unless they've been filled once already. Luckily for me, I had a few films left from my last script I had transferred. If I didnt have those films left, I would have been in trouble.

So now, I'm in Colorado, my RX is in Florida, at the same pharmacy chain, and the only options I have are to either ask my doctor to call in a new RX to Colorado (of course its the weekend, and maybe he won't agree to do it), or to buy a plane ticket at last minute to get to Florida before these 4 films run out (but even if I did, I wouldnt be able to fill more from new RX in FL until the day before these 4 run out, because of other laws that won't let us fill "early").

What really makes me upset is that, according to my pharmacist, if I had not called the FL Walgreens to have the filled script pulled, and put into "storage" on their computer system, I would've been able to transfer it, even though I did not actually "fill" part of it. The pharmacist actually told me that.

So, I guess that is a way around this law? If you know that you can't transfer a Schedule III drug, just have the original pharmacist fill it, then transfer? What good is this new law if a person can get around it so easily? It's beaurocratic red tape!

I searched the internet and could not find any reference to this new law, except for some posts from 2016 on a forum for pharmacists, where they were going back and forth about it, could not find any actual answer or wording in the law about it.

Does anyone here know anything about this? If so, PLEASE let me know.

Thank You!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:16 pm 
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I've never heard of that law. You can only transfer a controlled substance rx once. Meaning if I'm on vacation and my new rx is at my home pharmacy and I have it transferred to where ever I'm at, I can't have it transferred back.
However having it filled and transferring it makes no sense.
The only other applicable law I can think of is that some states won't take transferred controlled substance prescriptions from other states.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:25 pm 
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This sounds really strange to me. I am in Colorado and I do my script at an Arvada Walgreens. I've developed a rapport with my pharmacist there, so I will ask him about the new "rule". I've never heard of it either.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:35 am 
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In reply to Amy -
Hi Amy, Thank You - I am not far from you, I use Centennial Walgreens, and one of the pharmacists there knows me well, but when I called this time to transfer my script, like I've done for the past 6 months, a different pharmacist was on the phone with me, that I had never spoke with before. He is the one who told me about the new DEA law.

Please do see what your pharmacist knows about this, I would appreciate it very much.

What they mean by filling it once, is if either you have a months refill on the script, like my doc prescribes 1 month of Suboxine with 1 refill, so one script lasts me 60 days, or, if you fill part of your script, like I do - I pay cash, so I usually buy 7 films at a time. This pharmacist told me that the new law states that a person has to fill at least part of their script at original pharmacy, then it can be transferred. Since my pharmacy in Florida had filled the first months worth of my rx, thinking I was picking it up there, I called them to tell them I was going to hsve it transferred, so they put it on file in computer. The pharmacist her in CO said if the FL pharmacy would have left script as filled, I would've been able to transfer. --- Yeah, it does not sound right to me, eithet.

There were a couple of times, when I called to fill my rx here in CO, after it had been transferred, where a different pharmacist or tech answered the phone (other than the one pharmacist who knows me well), and at first, they told me they could not fill, because "you can only fill 5 times in one month" - I explained to them that I fill once every 7 days, so thats only 4 times in a month - So they said, Let me try to run it through - then they were surprised that it went through.
I know this is a whole other topic, but thats why I am questioning what this pharmacist told me.

I talked to my doctor - he does not feel comfortable with calling in my Sub rx to another state - even though I researched the law about that, and I provided links to the law to him, saying that as long as he has a DEA license, and that the pharmacist here knows I have a good relationship with my doc, that it is legal for him to call in my rx to another state. But he wont budge, so that's his decision. By the way, I usually see my doc monthly, but since Ive been travelling so much, if I'm not in FL when my appointment is due, I have a phone appt with him, either monthly or every 2 months. I've been with this doc for 12 years.

I think I might have figured out how to get around this issue without having to fly back to FL, as the only other thing I could do is to have a relative pick up my FL rx and mail it to me, but it is illegal to mail meds. Since the pharmacist told me that I ruined it by calling the FL pharmacy to have my rx "unfilled", then I guess I could call the FL pharmacy, ask them to fill it, then the CO pharmacy could then transfer it because it would be back at the same status it was previously, before I called them to put it on file? That's what I dont understand about this new law, as the pharmacist told me he could have transferred it when it had been filled in FL, even though it had not bedn picked up.

Thank You, I am anxious to know what your pharmacist says about it.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:59 am 
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duke_fanatic wrote:
I've never heard of that law. You can only transfer a controlled substance rx once. Meaning if I'm on vacation and my new rx is at my home pharmacy and I have it transferred to where ever I'm at, I can't have it transferred back.
However having it filled and transferring it makes no sense.
The only other applicable law I can think of is that some states won't take transferred controlled substance prescriptions from other states.


To Duke_Fantastic,
Thanks for your reply - yeah, I know about the law that you mentioned about transferring once. What they mean by filling it once, is if either you have a months refill on the script, like my doc prescribes 1 month of Suboxone with 1 refill, so one script lasts me 60 days, like if I filled my rx monthly, I would have to (according to this supposed new law) fill 1 months worth at the home pharmacy, then I could have the remaining months worth transferred -

OR, if you fill part of your script, like I do - I pay cash, so I usually buy 7 films at a time, so I would have to fill 7 films at home pharmacy, then could transfer the remaining. This pharmacist told me that the new law states that a person has to fill at least part of their script at original pharmacy, then it can be transferred.

It doesnt make sense, especially the fact that, according to this pharmacist, you dont even need to actually pick up the rx after it's filled, it just has to be filled to be transferred, so easy to get around. Unfortunately, my doc is paranoid about calling my rx into another state, even though the pharmacist here said they would accept it, no problem, and I have not found any laws that would prevent him from doing so.

But, Florida doctors are extremely careful, because there is an attitude against suboxone and other controlled substances in FL. I used to have a lot of problems filling my rx in FL, and was surprised how I didnt get attitude from Colorado pharmacists, and in other states I've travelled to. I have never used illegal drugs, except trying pot in high school, and didnt like it, I became addicted to percocet after multiple surgeries over several years, never had extreme withdrawal until the last surgery on my neck - I dont even drink - and I was treated terribly in FL, by previous doctors (not the one I have now, have been with him for 12 years), and by pharmacy employees.

Our family thought we were exaggerating about how badly I was treated for being on Suboxone, until my FIL had hip surgery, and my MIL, in her 80s, had a heck of a time filling his pain med script on the way home from hospital. She said the pharmacy treated her like she was doing something illegal, and it caused my FIL a lot of pain while waiting all day to get his script, as his wife had to run around town trying to get a pharmacy to fill his Vicodin, then she was treated worse when she told each pharmacy she had tried to fill it elsewhere.

Thank You, if you hear anything about this, please let me know.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:06 am 
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Here is a link to a forum posts from 2016, on the Pharmacy forum on a Student Doctor site, here they are talking about this same issue. In one of the posts, someone says that the question never got answered. A lot of the posts have snippets of the current DEA laws, but nothing about the supposed new law I was just told about.

https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/transfer-a-newly-prescribed-controlled-medication.1235055/


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:32 pm 
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I read thru it all, and read CO and FL State Board of Pharmacy and DEA transfer rules. Seems like the new to you CO pharmacist is incorrect in saying its a new DEA rule. It comes from confusion with the DEA March 2010 https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cf ... 306_25.htm where it states "a) The transfer of original prescription information for a controlled substance listed in Schedule III, IV, or V for the purpose of refill dispensing is permissible between pharmacies on a one-time basis only." Note is says 'refill', not first fill -- creating a gray area.

Looks like Corporate Legal at Kroger's and Walmart, conservatively interpreted it and set an internal policy NOT to allow a transfer for a first fill, that it had to be filled (partial/full) first and then a refill could be transferred. Other Pharmacists said they went ahead and transferred on the first fill bc there was no law or State Board of Pharmacy saying it was illegal. And was nonsense to even worry about this issue.

Have you called your Walgreen's Pharmacy when the new to you pharmacist is NOT there? and asked this again? Could be its only that pharmacist's interpretation or could be Corporate Legal at Walgreen's issued an internal memo disallowing a first fill transfer. I'd call another area Walgreen's and ask. I just called a Walgreens asking about the same as your story and they were fine w a transfer of first fill but got weird on multi partial fills w in the same month like you do - so maybe your Walgreen's doesn't want your business due to that, IDK... What is your dose? Are both pharmacies the same company? trying to see if something else is flagging you to the new to you pharmacist.

Sorry this is so hard, best, P

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:36 pm 
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Shalala, Pelican is one of the best researchers we have on the forum. I was already guessing that the particular pharmacist that you spoke with is misinterpreting the law. And I've heard that some pharmacists just tend to interpret these laws more conservatively than others, even within the same company. In addition, I do think that there are doctors and pharmacists who preface an unpopular opinion with, "The DEA has a new regulation..."

I am dealing with my insurance company and a prior authorization for one of my medications right now, so I will probably talk to my pharmacist tomorrow. I have to admit that the explanation by your pharmacist is so illogical that I'm having trouble wrapping my head around what he or she is trying to say! But I will try to ask my pharmacist about it.

Another thing to consider is that you can't swing a dead cat around Colorado without hitting a Walgreens! I suggest that you might change to a more reasonable pharmacist?

Again, I tend to trust Pelican's interpretation of the law and events at your pharmacy. He is a smart dude!

Amy

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:35 pm 
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Pelican wrote:
I read thru it all, and read CO and FL State Board of Pharmacy and DEA transfer rules. Seems like the new to you CO pharmacist is incorrect in saying its a new DEA rule. It comes from confusion with the DEA March 2010 https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cf ... 306_25.htm where it states "a) The transfer of original prescription information for a controlled substance listed in Schedule III, IV, or V for the purpose of refill dispensing is permissible between pharmacies on a one-time basis only." Note is says 'refill', not first fill -- creating a gray area........


Pelican,
Thank You. I just spoke with the pharmacist that I usually deal with. And yes, my pharmacy here in CO is the same pharmacy as my home state of Florida.

I asked her about this "new law", and she verified what the other pharmacist told me, that I have to at least partially fill my rx at the pharmacy it was originally called into by my doc, then I can transfer the remaining, even if I just fill one days worth.

My pharmacist is aware about the one time transfer rule, she is not confused about that.

I asked her if there is a bulletin / reference, or where I could access information about this "new law" , as I wanted to let others know, so they don't end up in a bind, like I have. She said that she doesn't think it is actually "written" anywhere, that they just got word about it from Walgreens a couple of weeks ago, and that its something new that the DEA and pharmacies are trying to figure out. She said that's why I couldn't find any reference to it online.

It sounds like, to me, that the DEA is thinking about implementing this as a law, but have not yet, and maybe are telling pharmacies to start complying? According to the 2016 forum posts by pharmacists on the Student Doctor website (I posted link in this topic), it sounds like this was happening in 2016, too. What's going on? Did they explore doing this in 2016, then gave up on it, then have started again?

I was wrong, in assuming that I could have my FL rx put in fill status, then not pick up there, thinking it could then be transferred. My pharmacist told me that the other pharmacist wasn't quite right when he told me that if I would not have called the original pharmacy to tell them to "unfill" it, that he would've been able to transfer it. She said it has to actually be filled once, at least one days worth, for them to be able to transfer it.

I cannot get any of my family on the phone, to be able to ask them to pick up part of my rx for me, so I called my doctor's office and put in one last request for him to just call me in a new script to Colorado. He told me several times that he is uncomfortable with doing this, but maybe he will just this time - I hope to find out soon, as I cannot fly back, and I run out tomorrow.

Everything that I have read, and several pharmacists have told me that it is legal to call in a script to another state, as long as prescriber has DEA license, and when the pharmacist knows the patient has a good standing relationship with doctor. I've read that some states, like Texas, won't allow Schedule III drugs to be called in from out of state doctor, but supposedly, that is not supposed to be up to the state, it's Federal. When I worked in New York a few years ago, the state of NY would not accept my Florida scripts, and I bought many plane tickets just to pick up my script.

Pelican, what do you know about doctors calling in Suboxone scripts out of state?
Also, what do you make of what the pharmacist told me about this new DEA rule / law?

Thank You Very Much!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:54 pm 
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Let me give it another try as you are close to getting it. I don't think there is any new law, just growing confusion over what the DEA meant w their 2010 law . The issue is what is the DEA’s intent/definition of the word REFILL and is a FIRST FILL required prior to transferring a script?

The DEA law in reference is a 7 years old law dated March 2010 "a) The transfer of original prescription information for a controlled substance listed in Schedule III, IV, or V for the purpose of REFILL dispensing is permissible between pharmacies...." Here again is the link to the full law. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cf ... 306_25.htm .Set aside the one time rule later mentioned, that's not the point here.

What does the word ‘refill’ mean to the DEA - what was the DEA's intent? Does refill mean to force you to have at least 1 Suboxone film or days worth, ‘first filled’ and picked up in the originating FL pharmacy before your script can be transferred to meet the true definition of a refill - or - did they mean your script can be transferred in whole full quantity and ‘first filled’ in CO? Are folks supposed to travel back and forth across their local city or the US, JUST to go get their first set of meds from the originating pharmacy? Some pharms say yes and some say no, that's absurd. This is exactly where the confusion lies.

Pharmacies have been/are looking at this. Per your Walgreens "...that I have to at least partially fill my rx at the pharmacy it was originally called into by my doc, then I can transfer the remaining, even if I just fill one days worth.” -- It seems like what’s 'new' is your Walgreen’s is now most conservatively interpreting the existing 7 yr old DEA law which specifically only states the word REFILL. It does not state the words 'first fill'.

Per your 2016 link, some pharmacists and at corporate level (Kroger, Walmart) have taken the most conservative law interpretation NOT to allow anything but a true refill to be transferred.

While other pharmacists think its a travesty/nonsense/absurd to interpret it that at least one pill or days worth, must be ‘first filled’ at the originating pharmacy prior to transferring the rest. These pharms will transfer your script without it being first filled at the originating pharm and will 'first fill' it at their transferring to pharmacy.

You’re in a bind. Seriously, call around to a different Walgreens or other brand stores bc they might not care or have any idea of this! You need your meds! My Walgreens has no idea of any of this and would allow it.

It may be that the DEA does mean only a true refill can be transferred either locally w in the same city or across the US and folks will be in a bind if they haven't first filled it at the originating pharmacy. Or it may mean that long geographic distance fills / refills were not considered, creating a problem for you and tons of others. But until that's clarified everywhere, find a local pharmacy to help you now!

I have no info on doctors calling in Suboxone scripts out of state, sorry…

I'd be speed dialing multiple CO pharmacies till I found one indifferent or unaware of this.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:13 am 
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I just had an issue with my suboxone transfer. My doc is from Pittsburg (about 3 hrs from where I live) he drives to an office closer to me twice a month for clinic. This office is an he from my home. So I filled part of my script close to the office day of clinic..still had 10 remaining and called to transfer it to a place closer to home (this is all Wal-Mart mind you). Well my hometown Wal-Mart refused to transfer and when I asked why I was told because the script was from a doc in Pittsburg and it's at the PHARMACIST DISCRETION on wether they will fill the rx. Even after I explained the main office is outside Pittsburg but my doc has a office an hr away. The PHARMACIST still refused. So I had to drive another hr there and back to pick up 10 strips. Nothing to do with "laws" the Pharmacist just didn't want to fill it...maybe that's what is really going on and your "unknown" PHARMACIST just wasn't comfortable filling out of state and just giving you some b.s. excuse about laws.


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