CVS Pharmacies in Florida have decided to refuse certain doctors orders. According to reports, the pharmacy chain has sent letters to an undisclosed number of prescribing physicians in Florida, informing them that their prescriptions for narcotics will no longer be honored at CVS pharmacy branches. The number is reported to be “small”, and CVS is said to have been in communication with the DEA on the issue.
A copy of the letter was sent to the St. Petersburg Times as well as state Surgeon General Frank Farmer. A portion of the letter explains the decision:
“CVS Pharmacy Inc. has become increasingly concerned with escalating reports of prescription drug abuse in Florida, especially oxycodone abuse…We regret any inconvenience that this action may cause. However, we take our compliance obligations seriously and find it necessary to take this action at this time.”
The CEO of the National pain Institute responded with an email to members, revealing an example letter received by one of the Florida pain clinic doctors. The quote of his alert showed he blames CVS for a damning business decision, and suggests that CVS is profiling doctor prescribing habits.
The Florida Department of Health regulates pharmacists. It references Florida statutes for guiding pharmacists behavior, including whether or not to fill any particular prescription. Pharmacists are required by law to control distribution of scheduled substances (like the Oxycontin, Soma, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other narcotics) and are required to judge the validity of a prescription and the person presenting it. In some cases, pharmacists themselves can dispense substances even without a prescription (such as during an emergency).
In the pharmacy statutes, under “Drug Abuse Prevention and Control” it says:
(2)(a) A pharmacist may not dispense a controlled substance listed in Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV to any patient or patient’s agent without first determining, in the exercise of her or his professional judgment, that the order is valid. The pharmacist may dispense the controlled substance, in the exercise of her or his professional judgment, when the pharmacist or pharmacist’s agent has obtained satisfactory patient information from the patient or the patient’s agent.
Pharmacists have theirown ethics, standards, and regulatory compliance obligations, and are apparently not willing to simply abide by “doctor’s orders” in all cases.
According to Sunrise Detox, a local drug detox center in West Palm Beach, this is a step in the right direction if the doctors were over-prescribing narcotics:
A copy of the letter sent is attached below (PDF).
Some Doctors are choosing to send their patients to other pharmacies, where they can get their prescriptions filled without the extra “scrutiny” imposed by CVS. Others are glad to see increased pressure on the doctors most often prescribing the commonly abused narcotics.
- CVS letter to pain clinic docs (PDF)
- St. Petersberg Times and TampaBay.com reporting on the issue
- Robber with knife steals 100 pain killers from CVS in St. Peterberg (2011)
- Robbers take drugs from CVS in Tampa, pistol-whip women, carjack vehicles (2010)
- Man with knife robs Spring Hill CVS of oxycodone (2011)