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Can you get sued for not filling opioid prescriptions?

As the government continues its crackdown on the opioid crisis, whether or not a pharmacy could find itself the center of a lawsuit for failing to fill an opioid prescription may seem like a surprising question. And yet, that is exactly what three big companies are currently facing. CVS, Walgreens and Costco were all named in a recent lawsuit for not filling opioid prescriptions. The lawsuit claims that because these pharmacy giants failed to fill these prescriptions, patients are unable to continue to manager pain from chronic conditions.

And its not the only one. At least one additional lawsuit is moving forward against Walgreens and Costco that makes the same claim.

Can patients make these claims?

Thus far, it appears they can. The patients in this lawsuit are suing based on the argument that the refusal to fill the prescriptions rises to a violation of the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the anti-discrimination polices that are a part of the Affordable Care Act. The originally noted lawsuit, filed by an individual, is a class-action lawsuit that represents millions of patients throughout the country.

The lawsuit appears to acknowledge that the push to combat the opioid crisis are well intentioned, but that this push has led to discriminatory treatment of those with valid prescriptions for these medications as showcased by the difficulties that are apparent whenever they try to fill their prescription. The lawsuit further claims that the denial interferes with the patient’s relationship with the prescribing physician. The American Medical Association appears to agree. The group stated that large pharmacies such as those named in this lawsuit have inappropriate policies regarding these medications that result in “harm to patients.”

What is the goal of the lawsuit?

If successful, the claim would result in the ability of patients with chronic pain to fill their prescriptions at these and other pharmacies throughout the country.