NOTE: This is an open letter to Walgreens, Walmart, and any other pharmacy that has a policy of denying purchase of syringes to insulin dependent diabetics without a prescription. The opinions here are my own but I’m willing to bet any amount of money that they are shared with many.
I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and have been for about 10 years now. My treatment consists of regular doses of over-the-counter 70/30 insulin administered IM via syringe. Until recently, I have been able to buy my supplies without question or issue. However, while I can still buy insulin over-the-counter, I can no longer buy my needles without being interrogated like a dime-store junkie. I have asked a couple of pharmacists who work at the companies involved and I am told that it is a decision that may be made by the pharmacist on the spot about whether a prescription will be required. I am also told that there is no state statute that governs this and it is SOLELY at the discretion of the pharmacist.
What does this accomplish? I am informed that the policy of denying this purchase is to prevent junkies from buying needles. I am given no other reason. This is fallacy to think that denying me, the needful user of the product, a purchase will in any way prevent a drug abuser from procuring a needle. It only ensures that I will have to be harassed to purchase something on which my very life depends. I’d even go so far as to say it increases the likelihood that syringes will be sold “black market” because now that’s the only way they can be gotten. You can be sure that any needle procured in this manner will be dirty and will only increase the possibility of transmission of disease like HIV and hepatitis. So, your enforcement of your false morality actually contributes to the death of people who contract these diseases in this manner.
So, what is your real reason? You can’t possibly believe you’re helping anything. You are only denying people like me what they need and I believe it is more likely personal vendetta against diabetics (how I wish this weren’t true but it’s prevalent both in and out of the medical community). If you have a moral problem with “contributing to the delinquency of a junkie”, then you are now foisting your morality onto me. How dare you? Who died and made you God?
I am also sure it is a business decision. In the case of Walgreens, they tell me that a prescription is not required as long as I purchase my insulin there. This is so “they know I am actually needing the syringes”. My, isn’t that convenient? With your false morality, you can now hold me hostage to your questioning and business practices and make a few bucks in the process. Go ahead, pretend this isn’t the case.
In the final analysis, I am left with no choice but to begin barking up corporate and legislative trees in hopes that this very bad policy will be changed, legislated against, or seek out a pharmacy that doesn’t practice this. But, I’m convinced nothing will change. It must be nice to be able to sit in judgment and lord over a group of people who didn’t ask to be this way and get harassed in the pursuit of continuing to live.