Denied Insulin for over a week

LONGGG POST, sorry ><

Hi I’m new to this site, so nice to meet you! :stuck_out_tongue:

As of May 2006, I moved from my dads in Portland, ME, into my own apartment the next town over. I visited often so I usually picked up my medicine there at the local supermarket pharmacy. No complications. Called it in, picked it up. The beginning of August, my doctors called me and told me I was due for a check up, but that they would relocate me because there was an endocrinology of diabetes clinic closer to my new apartment. So I thought that this was okay, and that I would just do that. So thinking ahead I also transfered my prescriptions to the nearest pharmacy, which was no hassle either. Called in my strips and got it the next day.

But as of last Monday (Aug, 13th) I called in my NovoLog FlexPens, expecting to receive them later the same day, or the next as usual. I had enough to last that day, so I waited until the next day to pick it up. I go bright and early to the pharmacy hoping to receive my medicine as usual. As I go to the counter and ask for it, they tell me the prescription had expired and that they had to call in and get a new one. (which is hard to believe because on the box it says 2008) They said it should take no longer than a day and for me to call them tomorrow. Tomorrow comes, I call, and they tell me that they haven’t been in contact with my doctor yet. So I’m thinking I’m going to freak out because I’m out of insulin. i said ok and that I’d call them myself. I call my doctors and they said that I should call my new doctor. So… I call my new doctor and am told that they can’t prescribe me and medicine because I haven’t seen them yet… SO… I call my old doctors again, explain the situation, and they call the pharmacy and write out a prescription for me. This is around day 4 now in which I haven’t had insulin. I’m reading high, and peeing like once every 15 mins. I’m thinking I should go to sleep, by the time I wake up my medicine should be there. (Yes I know not the greatest idea). I wake up, drive on over to the pharmacy, only to have some angry old lady tell me that they haven’t received authorization yet. She seriously yelled at me when she had no right to, and said she cannot give me insulin, even after I told her I had none left. I’m aggravated, tired. I call my doctors back, and even when I told her I was out of medicine and that I might need to go to the hospital, she puts me on hold… after it got to 12 minutes, I hung up. I go home to talk to one of my diabetic friends, hehe (I love that)… and he freaks out cause I could probably go into DKA. He somehow had two boxes of NovoLog that he didn’t need, so came over and brought those. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to have insulin.

So what happened with my insurance/insulin? I guess it had to go through authorization with the state again, that’s why it’s taken so long. But I’ll call them when I’ve learned to calm down, right now… not happening.

Have you ever been denied insulin? What did you do?

OMG I cant even imagine what I would have done in your situation!!
I know I would have done a lot of screaming thats for sure : )

One thing that I try to do to avoid ever having something like this happen is always have small stash of insulin on hand…when I refill a script I look at the paperwork for when the insurance will allow another refill and refill on that day.

Also, I know I can buy R over the counter which is probably what I would have done in your position…its not what I normally use but its better than nothing ; ) and its pretty cheap too.

Another thing I would consider doing if I was in a similiar situation is marching into the nearest ER. Yes, it would be a painfully long wait but they would have been able to get you some insulin right away and/or give you a script to take to the pharmacy.

HTH ; )

Tee, I’m sorry this happend to you. I hope you are better now.

I’ve never been denied insulin, but have run out before when a bottle broke. This is a problem for me, because I get my insulin through a mail-order pharmacy ( I get a three month supply each time) and don’t a have a prescription at a local pharmacy.

When this happened, I called my doctor and they gave me a bottle of insulin to last me until my prescription arrived. Doctor’s offices 9/10 have medicine on hand to give out to patients in certain situations. God forbid this happens to you again, but maybe ask you doc next time. I’m sure they will understand.

You could always go to the ER—my brother works in an ER and said that when Diabetics come in super high because they ran out or cannot afford insulin, they get a shot of insulin and get to take the bottle home when all is clear.

I had a pharmacy sell me a broken bottle of insulin once. Which I didn’t notice until the next day after I had flown to a different state. A different branch of that pharamacy said they would let me BUY another bottle paying full price (no insurance coverage). It took a lot of fuss before they agreed to replace the bottle for free.

And a different time, a hotel threw out the refrigerator my insulin was in. That meant a trip to an emergency clinic to get a new prescription, and then a search for a 24-hour pharmacy. The hotel paid for all of that though. A teacher that I was traveling with made the fuss that time.

Unfortunately, the way to get things like this taken care of is to raise hell. I always feel bad for whomever I’m dealing with. It’s usually not their fault, but they need to understand how dangerous and scary it is to be without insulin.

I’ve often wondered if you could be denied insulin. I think you combined too many changes. New pharmacy, new doctor. My pharmacist has always taken care of stuff like expired scripts & early refills, but I’ve been there every month for years now. I would think that supermarket would have also but a new pharmacy with a unvisited doctor … to much fear of lawsuit going on to just give medication.

Wow! Extremely dangerous! In the future, please do not hesitate to go to the nearest Emergency Room. I am sure you can get insulin on an emergency basis there. You could have literally died waiting! They will write you a prescription or they can give you insulin free in an emergency. Type 1s cannot go without insulin. P.S. The drug companies donate insulin to those that cannot afford it under certain programs. Doctors in the ER will have access to donated drugs.

Its already been said, but get yourself to an ER if you can’t get the insulin. Its not worth it to wait.

That being said, I have my scripts filled at a number of different Walgreens pharmacies (in Chicago there’s a Walgreens every two blocks) and the couple of times my script was expired, they gave me a bottle of Novolog without charge until the script could be renewed the next business day (this happened once on x-mas eve). I can’t believe the pharmacist didn’t just give you the insulin, its not a controlled substance and it can’t be used recreationally. Most pharmacists have common sense enough to know if you have a script in the computer system for insulin, it will likely be renewed.

Sorry that you had to go through all that. Just remember, refill before you run out!

In many states you can buy R insulin without a prescription. I know you can in Massachusetts. In an emergency, you could buy a vial of R. Use it 45 minutes before eating, same ratio as novolog. It’s not out of your system until 4-5 hours, though.

At my Massachusetts Walgreens, the pharmacy will give you needles or insulin when you come in if you have an expired prescription and then contact your doctor. They did that for me when my needles ran out and my doctor was closed for the weekend.

I think you should ask to speak to the manager of the pharmacy and find out what the law is in Maine. It’s possible that the counterflunky screwed up. If they did, and if they should have given you the insulin, you should demand that they do something to make it right and to make sure it NEVER happens again!

E-i-ow! I am glad you are still with us, Tee. You went through a really bad week. Thank you for sharing that story. I know how horrible I feel when my blood sugar get really high.

I’ve never been denied insulin. I think in the 40-odd years I’ve been taking insulin, I’ve never more than a day without. I know I got insulin once in NJ by justing walking into a grocery store pharmacy and buying it. I know that that I have spares at home in the fridge.

I’m just glad to hear you are okay. Hopefully this won’t happen to you again. When I was on MDI I ran out of Novolog one time. I had my Lantus, but (totally my fault) I ran out of Novolog. I got my last shot in before I went to bed & then next morning I figured I could go get it at the drug store when it opened & it would be no big deal. I got there & they tried to tell me that I couldn’t get it because my prescription expired. I started to flip completely out and luckily, they could see on record that I had been getting insulin for years & they gave me one bottle while contacting my doctor & the insurance company. So there was no real harm done.
It’s very stressful know that our lives depend on this liquid in a tiny bottle, isn’t it?

But I got my test strips from them a few days before. Not really “medicine”… but still. They just handled it in an unexpected matter. I don’t believe they even contacted my doctors to renew it like they said.

I wish they did the same to me! It was the same pharmacy branch wise, just a different city. Now I know how it feels to be a druggie. Striving on some insulin, lol.

Glad you are OK.

I would have gone to the nearest ER and gotten my insulin and a new script, it would be worthe the 100.00 for the ER visit IMO.

Striving college student, lol. But yes I was thinking that, but I never listen to my own advice.

No I was never denied insulin but waaaaaay back in 73 when I took it you didn’t have to have a prescripition to get it. Boy your lucky to have a friend like that! If I had gone that long without insulin I can tell you where I’d be…in the hospital surrefing from sever DKA.

Insulin is not a prescription drug in Canada, or at least not in Alberta or Ontario (have not tried anywhere else). We even had a case recently where a user got upset because a pharmacy refused to sell it to him because he was not a customer of theirs and refused to provide the pharmacy with his name.

Things are different here in the UK, if I had no insulin (which I have done when I thought I had packed some for a short business trip only to find I had left it on the table at home) you can go to any pharmacy tell them whats happened, they phone your doctor or clinic to verify your diabetic, etc and provide you with enough insulin until you can get to your gp. You can do the same and go to A&E they also check BG then provide insulin in much the same way.

I’m glad your ok and have some now!

O.M.G.!!! That’s just awful! I can’t even imagine!! If that had happened to me, I’d probably have ended up being arrested, cuz I would have had the BIGGEST fit anyone has ever seen! LOL Like someone else said, it’s not some recreational drug that someone can get high off of!! It’s literally a life sustaining drug!

Fortunately my insulin doesn’t require a prescription at all. Novolin (N & R). Not here in GA at least! But I do know that if I were taking one of the others that do, I can always go and get some Regular, to “get by” with.

Thankfully you didn’t go into DKA, or worse!!

You really should not wait until you have only a day left to get your refill most ins companys will let you fill 5-7 days before your supply is gone . Also if you do find your self totally out you could ask the MD for samples until you can get your refill most of them have samples but keep them back for people in need . …Im not scolding you just passing on some helpful hints for the future . I hope you are doing ok now and have your insulin . I try to keep ahead on insulin just incase I run into a problem .

Tracy