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Who says the majority rules?

August 23, 2018

There are approximately 320 million legal residents of the U.S. and perhaps another 10 to 30 million undocumented residents in the United States.

According to one website, approximately 9.4% of those people use either illegal street drugs (7%) or abuse prescription medications (2.4%).

In response to that small percentage, the CDC, insurance companies and pharmacies have appropriated the right to decide who can get pain medications and what kind they must be prescribed.

This is a typical “one-size-fits-all” bureaucratic solution to a highly individual problem.

Many people are rightly concerned that these entities, mostly out of concern for covering their own derrieres, are making medical decisions that should rightly be left to the patients’ physicians.

By way of example, several years ago “Ann” was broadsided by a semi which ran a stop sign. Nearly every bone in her body was broken and she has struggled with chronic pain ever since. She is on a physician prescribed pain control medication that allows her to care for her family and work part-time.

A month or so ago, her pharmacist refused to refill her medication, even though she had a doctor’s prescription for it. She asked the pharmacist to call her doctor, but he refused to do so, saying he was just following company guidelines.

When she objected, she was informed that if she continued to ask that the drug be refilled, she could be referred to her insurance company as a “possible chronic abuser.”

This isn’t an isolated incident. The Idaho Statesman ran an article, updated on 9/12/17, covering a similar situation facing a pain control practice whose choice of a Class IV (reasonably safe and less addictive) medication was preempted by an insurance company, not by prescribing a safer medication, but substituting a far more addictive but far cheaper Class II (high potential for addiction) medication, namely morphine.

And then there are the ads saying “even one time is too many” implying that ANY use of a prescription pain medication should be discouraged.

This is a case of 320 million people being held hostage to 7.68 million prescription drug abusers, not by the law, but by their insurance companies and pharmacists.

No one is advocating that prescription drug abuse be overlooked, nor are we trying to say it never happens. But putting insurance companies watching their pocketbooks and pharmacists unqualified to practice medicine  in charge of patient well-being is not the answer.

Ann eventually was able to obtain her medication, but not until she threatened to file suit against the pharmacy for practicing medicine without a license.

Ask yourself…would you trust your pharmacist or insurance agent, much less a government administrative lapdog, to diagnose and treat your medical conditions?

From → op-ed

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