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Patients who can't get their medicine say the experience has made them miserable.
"For a while, 75 percent of the time they could not get it to me," said Karen Westover, 49, of New Port Richey, who has had one kneecap removed, suffers from fibromyalgia and uses a service dog to help her walk. When I did, they said I was drug shopping." The past couple of years, pharmacies' reasons for denying her prescriptions have multiplied, Westover said.
As vice chair of the state's Board of Medicine, Miguel called for legislative change to stem the flow of drugs that led to thousands of overdose deaths each year. The obstacle, Miguel and other doctors report, are pharmacies that are increasingly second-guessing them, asking to see medical records or refusing service.
Miguel now is in a different drug battle — one for more access to narcotics, not less.
That has exacerbated the tension between doctors and pharmacists — a schism that is occurring across the country."Well, if I write a prescription and it's got my DEA number and my signature on it, what do you think, I'm joking around?" The tightening by drugstores comes after the Drug Enforcement Administration imposed record fines on pharmacies based on allegations they weren't scrutinizing questionable prescriptions.One Walgreens initially refused because she didn't live within 5 miles of the store. Lynne Columbus, helped draft a Pinellas County ordinance aimed at curbing pill mills. And deaths declined by 23 percent from 2010 to 2012.
"They call us sometimes and ask if (a prescription) is medically necessary," said Miguel, 59, who has a Brandon clinic and teaches pain medicine at the University of South Florida.