Pharmacist Call To Action- Stop the Pain

I love when things start to fall into place. I recently spoke with a physician who would love to have the help of a pharmacist in managing his new pain patients, all of whom filtered over from another doc (or a few) retiring for one reason or another. I am all for trying something new with this doc!

This morning, I received an email advertising free CE for a Pain Management webinar through ASHP. SOLD!

Then, going through my ASHP Daily Briefing (I always take time to at least skim the stories), I saw the following:

BCBS Of Massachusetts To Launch Policy To Curb Prescription Painkiller Abuse.

In a front-page story, the Boston Globe (5/7, A1, Lazar) reports that starting on July 1, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Massachusetts will launch “a policy to curb abuse by significantly limiting the amount of pain medication most patients can receive without prior approval from the insurer.” The new program “will allow patients to fill a 15-day prescription and one additional 15-day supply of the most common opioid drugs…before the insurer hits the pause button.” After that, continued refills will prompt a review by the insurer and “needs for assurances from the prescriber that several requirements have been met, including patient counseling about the significant risk for developing an addiction, and an agreement that subsequent prescriptions will be written only by the same physician and filled at the same pharmacy or pharmacy chain to stem so-called ‘doctor-shopping.'” However, the Massachusetts Medical Society is concerned that healthcare professionals may be overburdened by the paperwork required.

This presents an amazing opportunity for pharmacists to come in and manage pain patients for physicians. With physicians’ licenses being revoked right and left for sketchy prescribing practices, I can’t see how they wouldn’t want the help to protect their entire practice. The other option is not be able to prescribe narcotics, which would be horrible for patients.

Put contracts in place, and have a pharmacist monitor the patients and make sure the practice is in compliance. Then, refer patients out for alternative therapies that would also help, such as hypnotherapy, acupuncture, counseling, etc.

Who is already doing this? Who would like to do this? I would love to talk with you about the possibilities.

Comment here or email me at to discuss.