I am a disabled Vietnam veteran and have diabetes due to Agent Orange. I receive my medications from the Veterans Administration.
On the afternoon of June 21, I received a package from the VA pharmacy in Salt Lake. The package contained 15 vials of the insulin, Novolog. I use approximately 1/3 vial each month. I was at a loss as to why they sent so much! I called the pharmacy to ask why. The first person I talked to said that either I or my doctor had ordered them. I explained that I never ordered them and that I have repeatedly asked them not to send any meds until I order them. This is because I have been sent medication long before I needed it. Veterans are requested not to ask for medication refills before needed to help keep costs down. I was also told that the pharmacy will call before shipping meds to make sure someone is home to receive them. I have never been called. I asked what to do with the vials of Novolog and was told to discard them. I told them I was not going to throw away over $4,500 worth of medication. I then asked to speak to a supervisor and was told they would get back to me, which they have not.
I then went to the VA in Orem. The person I spoke to there also told me to throw the medication away. I told her I was not going to do this. She then told me to store them in my refrigerator. I then called the VA hospital administration and was also told to discard the medication. When I said I would write a letter to the editor, I was told they would look into the situation. I gave them both of my phone numbers because I was going to be out for a while. I waited for a week to see if someone would call me back. No one has!
It is a shame that I would be instructed to destroy expensive medication. I managed to donate several vials — two more today. Patients should not be sent more medication than they need or can use. People are dying because they are unable to afford the medications they need. I will eventually have no choice but to discard some of these vials as they will expire before I can use them. It’s a crying shame.
Richard Aragon, Provo