person speaking outside Walgreens with caption 'PART 1!!!!' (l) Walgreens Pharmacy building with sign (c) person speaking outside Walgreens with caption 'PART 1!!!!' (r)

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @kv_soky/TikTok (Licensed) by Caterina Cox

‘Is this allowed?’: Walgreens customer says pharmacy wouldn’t let him pay for his Adderall prescription because he doesn’t have insurance

‘Why in the world can’t we buy medications w/o insurance?! That makes zero sense.’

 

Braden Bjella

Trending

A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after claiming a Walgreens location refused to refill his prescription because he did not have insurance.

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In a video with over 375,000 views as of Saturday, TikTok user Kody (@kv_soky) stands outside of a Walgreens location and explains his recollection of what happened. The Walgreens in question is located in Franklin, Kentucky.

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According to Kody, he went to refill his prescription at this Walgreens location. When the pharmacist discovered that he did not have insurance, he says she began to “question [Kody’s] life choices about not having insurance.” Kody says how he explained that he did not have insurance because it is too expensive for self-employed people. Eventually, Kody says his prescription was denied, allegedly because he did not have insurance and was paying out of pocket.

Kody says he then spoke to his doctor, who claimed that the reasoning for denying the claim was invalid and that the pharmacy was, in Kody’s words, “full of shit.”

@kv_soky @walgreens @walgreenspharmacy This is what happened yesterday at #walgreens … stay tuned for Part 2! #patient #patientadvocate #healthcare #beyourownadvocate #patientadvocacy #pharmacist #hippa #medical #medicaltok #walgreensfail #pharmacytechnician #boycottwalgreens #kentucky #add #adhd #audhd #autism #lgbt ♬ original sound – Kody
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Refusing to fill a prescription is generally legal depending on a few factors. For example, a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription if they believe “the patient may be at risk of adverse effects due to drug interactions or an incorrect dosage,” per SingleCare. They also may refuse to fill a prescription if they believe the patient is abusing the medication — a claim Kody says is unlikely.

“I’ve been on Adderall since I was 18. I am too fat to use it as an illegal substance,” Kody says in the video.

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Additionally, refusing to fill certain prescriptions may lead to discrimination lawsuits. As noted by NPR in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, “because [many retail pharmacies] receive federal funding through several programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, they cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability.” 

Kody later posted a follow-up video where he confronted the pharmacist.

@kv_soky @walgreens @walgreenspharmacy A Pharmacist can legally refuse to fill your RX based on a few common sense things like the validity of a Script for example or fraud. They CANNOT however deny filling your RX based on whether you have insurance or not. If Im wrong Ill eat crow, but according to the hospital I filled my script at, they never heard of such a law. #pharmacist #unethical #walgreens #prescription #adderal #adderalshortage #audhd #autism #rx #medicaltok #part2 ♬ original sound – Kody
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In this video, the pharmacist claims that she could not provide him with the medication because it is a “Schedule II” pharmaceutical. There does not appear to be a legal basis for this claim.

The pharmacist claims that she had previously been reprimanded by Walgreens corporate for providing Adderall to people who claimed they had no insurance. Kody counters that he was able to pick up his medication at a different pharmacy. The pharmacist later appears to tell Kody that he needs to prove that he doesn’t have insurance, which proved confusing for the TikToker.

“Obviously I don’t have insurance, so what would I have proof for?” Kody asks.

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Kody then posted an update on his situation.

@kv_soky I unfortunately dont have time to answer a lot of the same questions so i hope this clears some things up. Thank you again for watching, commenting and helping make this go viral. All of our efforts can make some real change and help people who have been denied by this pharmacist and others who work for @walgreens. #walgreens #discrimination #tattooed #autstim #audhd #adhd #pharmacist #medicaltok #emt ♬ original sound – Kody

In this update, Kody states his belief that pharmacists should not be able to refuse to fill prescriptions based on insurance status, bias, or other factors. That said, he does not want the pharmacist whom he interacted with in the video to lose their job.

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“I don’t want her to get fired. I want her to get re-trained,” Kody says. “I don’t think it’s right for her to decide what is or is not a life-threatening, or life-need medication.”

This has been an ongoing complaint against Walgreens. In 2015, an article by Bob Segall was published by the National Association of Medical Doctors. The article details a “secret checklist,” known internally as the “Good Faith Dispensing Policy,” that Walgreens pharmacists use to verify prescriptions for certain pain medications.

While Adderall was not on the list of medications, several details of Kody’s story share similarities with this checklist. For example, in the checklist, the pharmacist is required to verify several details about the patient before providing the medication, including potentially verifying the information with a doctor as the pharmacist requested in Kody’s second video.

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Pharmacists are also instructed to answer a series of questions, including how the patient is paying for the medication. Not paying through an insurance provider is listed as a “red flag.”

In the comments section, many users supported Kody’s belief that this kind of refusal was against the general practice for pharmacists.

“As a former pharmacy tech. This is infuriating,” one user wrote. “Let her state licensing board decide if she should be retrained or lose her license.”

“I would contact Walgreens corporate directly,” another added. “If your doctor prescribes it, they are to fill it!”

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“It shouldn’t matter if you [have insurance] or not,” echoed a third. “You have a prescription and are willing to pay cash.”

We’ve reached out to Walgreens via email and Kody via TikTok direct message.

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