LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — THV11 is committed to educating you about the dangers of opioid abuse. Not only have we shared stories of the struggle but also patient warnings from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Still, some patients legitimately need opioid medication and are having a tough time wading through rules, regulations, and payment policy surrounding potentially addictive prescriptions.
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One central Arkansas patient was denied medication at the pharmacy and asked our verify team to find out if new laws are in place that limits the number of opioids a person can actually get.
Our source for Arkansas prescribing rules and regulations is the head of the state pharmacy board, John Kirtley. "It's very confusion understanding professional jargon if you're hearing things like prior authorization," said Kirtley.
Here's what happened, a central Arkansas woman who asked to remain anonymous visited her neighborhood Walgreens to fill her 30-day prescription for hydrocodone/acetaminophen, a medication her doctor has prescribed for many years. Recently the pharmacist began telling her she could only get a seven day supply every 90 days, despite having a prescription and authorization from her insurance.
It forced her to ask our verify team if, "New laws passed in Arkansas require her to get authorization for more than a seven-day supply of opioids?"
“I think there is a lot of confusion about what may or may not be a law or regulation in the state of Arkansas, but there is not a law or a regulation that requires a specific frequency of prior authorizations to get opioids," said Kirtley.
So, the answer is no.
No new Arkansas law is in place limiting opioids prescribed by a physician. But that said, Kirtley, reminds that any state-licensed pharmacist or physician can use their discretion. "Yes, pharmacists do have the ability to deny filling a prescription much like a physician would have the ability to deny service to a patient," said Kirtley.
A Walgreens spokesperson contacted us saying they do not have a corporate policy in place limiting the number of opioids pharmacists can fill and they are looking into this specific case.
But we can verify, no law is keeping a patient from filling an opioid prescription.