Why you may be turned away at your local pharmacy - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Why you may be turned away at your local pharmacy

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We are Working for You to find out why you may be turned away at your local pharmacy.

After getting tips from viewers that pharmacies no longer had their pain medications available, we decided to look into it.

Nick Gregg, Pharmacy Candidate at Colony Drug told 59News about 3 or 4 years ago, in an effort to combat the prescription drug epidemic, the DEA began placing limits on the amount of controlled substances pharmacies can buy from wholesalers.

Gregg explained why the DEA chose to place this limit on controlled substances.

"They believe that it's higher than what the people who need it, it really is. So instead of going after who prescribes it, they're going after who gives it out," he said.

Gregg told us this supply and demand is causing a vicious cycle, he said when the supply is limited, that causes the price to go up, meaning insurance companies won't cover all of it, and pharmacies are taking a loss.

With a limited supply, it hits insurance companies hard. When that happens, it trickles down to pharmacies.

"Now, their insurance doesn't pay us what it costs us to buy it. We can't take a loss on very many prescriptions because then we won't stay in business, especially for the independents," Gregg told us.

He said the DEA is shutting down how much the pharmacies can give out in a day, week, month etc. and because of this, Gregg told us it's the patients who suffer the most, especially new ones.

"People will come in with a newly prescribed pain medication. Since we are limited by the DEA on how much we can buy and how much we can dispense, we are unable to take a new patient on," he said.

If your pharmacy doesn't have your prescription available, Gregg said it is okay to try again at another pharmacy.

"The doctor can tell them, I think you should go here or try wherever. But in the end, the patient has the right to decide to go wherever they want," said Gregg.

Gregg also told 59News controlled substances and pain medications are not indicated for long term use and should only be used temporarily until a patient no longer needs relief.

For a complete list of the DEA's regulations on controlled substances, visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/826.htm