Dr. Bill Bauer, who concentrates his practice on pain relief and has criticized policies that abruptly cut off pain patients from their medicine, said Walmart, Rite Aid and CVS made no attempt to research individual patients’ history.
“They’re turning all opioid prescriptions away from the high prescribers,” Bauer said. “I’ve been singled out along with a bunch of others.”
Bauer said he’s a high prescriber because he has practiced for decades and specializes in pain management.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control conceded that its guidelines for opioid pill prescriptions have been misused. The federal agency said it does not favor abruptly cutting off pain medications or ignoring individual circumstances.
None of the three corporations Bauer mentioned responded to the newspaper’s requests for comment.
Bauer said he doesn’t blame the local pharmacists, who apparently are following orders from corporate management. He said in each case, the patients were able to obtain prescriptions from another pharmacy.
He said in one case, the Walmart in Tiffin refused to fill a prescription for Lyrica, an anti-seizure medication, for a patient who suffers from seizures.
“It wasn’t even being used for pain,” Bauer said.
The Register attempted to obtain comment from all three companies, in each case following the corporation’s instructions for contacting spokesmen. Walmart acknowledged receiving the message but didn’t respond further. Rite Aid asked for clarification and then didn’t respond. CVS did not respond at all.
The CDC, which has been blamed for causing the abrupt termination of pain medications for patients in chronic pain, responded Wednesday to criticism of the agency with a new statement.
Referring to its earlier guideline, the CDC said, “The Guideline does not support abrupt tapering or sudden discontinuation of opioids.”
“These practices can result in severe opioid withdrawal symptoms including pain and psychological distress, and some patients might seek other sources of opioids,” the CDC said. “In addition, policies that mandate hard limits conflict with the Guideline’s emphasis on individualized assessment of the benefits and risks of opioids given the specific circumstances and unique needs of each patient.”
Bauer said decisions on prescribing should be made by doctors, not by lawyers or politicians. He said the new policies at Walmart, Rite Aid and CVS are cruel and unfair.
“Our system is broken,” he said. “Take me out, but the patients, look at all these people. It’s not right. The indifference is breathtaking to me.”