CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The call from the pain clinic came just hours after federal agents raided Trivillian’s pharmacy in Kanawha City and confiscated boxes of records about prescription pill sales.
The woman on the phone asked Daniel Hemmings, a pharmacist at Advance Pharmacy Services, if he would fill prescriptions for the pain clinic’s patients. The woman told Hemmings the clinic was under new ownership, fighting drug diversion with a “new approach.”
But Hemmings wasn’t buying the pain clinic’s pitch. For more than a year, he had been turning away the clinic’s patients who presented questionable prescriptions.
“I told the lady who called, ‘I’m afraid it’s too late. You’ve burned too many bridges,’ ” Hemmings recalled last week.
As pain clinics in West Virginia face more scrutiny from state health inspectors and federal authorities, Hemmings and other pharmacists across the state are refusing to fill suspect prescriptions for pain medications.
“We’re seeing 19-year-olds being prescribed large amounts of oxycodone, and their diagnosis is a migraine,” Hemmings said. “It’s not ethical or professional.”
Pharmacists are trying to do their part to stem West Virginia’s pain pill problem, said Richard Stevens, executive director of the West Virginia Pharmacists Association.
“Some pharmacies are taking the action of refusing to fill the scrips,” Stevens said. “Unfortunately today, unlike the past, a pharmacist can’t always dispense just because a physician has written a prescription for something. You have to use more professional judgment, and pharmacists are taking a second look at prescriptions for controlled substances.”
The increased scrutiny has led to a handful of complaints filed by doctors and patients against pharmacists…