The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

May 22, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Thursday, May 22, 2014

Veterans or monetary bonuses, priority?

Veterans or monetary bonuses, priority?

“(If you have unexplained muscle aches/weakness, stop medication and contact your provider)(approved June 10)”

This seems to say if you have muscle aches/weakness you should tell your doctor and get a change in medication. However, the reality is you can contact your doctor and the doctor can prescribe Lipitor but the pharmacy WILL NOT change the medication. This is the situation at the Beckley veterans hospital.

I have had most all statins prescribed by the Beaufort, S.C., Naval hospital and had the stiffness and aches from each of them except Lipitor. At the Beckley VA, the “pharmacy committee” (which doesn’t exist) has over the years changed the Lipitor prescribed and substituted a different statin. In each case I immediately knew the of the change even though the medication label said that my doctor had prescribed the medicine which in each case this was not correct.

The last prescription listed atorvastatin, a generic for Lipitor. I got the aches and stiffness and asked my doctor to go back to Lipitor. She tried, but the pharmacy refused. I went to the pharmacy to find out why and was told “we only ship what we have in stock and Lipitor is not stocked. We only stock generic Lipitor as Lipitor is to expensive,” “there is no pharmacy committee, a group of doctors, pharmacists, legislators and supervisors determine the medicine to be provided,” “we can’t provide Lipitor.”

My doctor can not prescribe Lipitor as it is not listed on the computer selection, only the generic form is listed.

As I am over 65, I receive Medicare; as a retired Marine, I receive Tricare, therefore the VA pays only part of my medical costs. However, the VA bonuses paid for cost control seem to lock all veterans medical care into a “one size fits all” so that care is determined in a big way by the bonus, not by the medical care determined to be needed by the doctor.

Who has priority: the veteran/patient or the administrator who receives bonuses for reducing costs?

Frank W. Tuckwiller


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