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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 8/22/2007 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
painKILLER here~
I take Fentora 200 mcg tablets, 8 per day, for breakthrough pain.  They are a god send because they eliminated the original problem with ACTIQ. Actiq causes, as many of you have surely found out, extreme tooth decay.  Also, the Fentora requires a lower dose because more of it is absorbed into the blood stream instead of the stomach and GI tract. (less first-pass metabolism effect).  They also are so important because for patients taking Methadone, fentanyl is the only opiate strong enough to handle break through pain.  This is due to the fact that methadone has such an unusually long half life, which, makes it excellent for treating around the clock pain.
I am currently part of the patient assistance program sponsored by Cephalon.  A government grant pay for the medication for people who meet certain criteria.  The way that it is set up is that when your doctor writes a script for fentora, you fedex it to a central pharmacy in Pennsylvania.  This central pharmacy fills the prescription and fedex's it back to your home.  All in all, a pretty efficient way to get pain medications...or so  I thought.
I get 228 pills every 28 days.  The manufacturer ships them in boxes of 28; there are seven blister packs with four tablets in each blister pack. The boxes are sealed, obviously, upon completion at the manufacturing plant.  Fedex has no access to the medication as the med boxes are sealed inside of another box on shipment. 
I recieved my normal medications via fedex this month on time, like usual on a thursday.  On Friday, I went to open a sealed box to take a dose of medication from it.  When I opened this SEALED box, to my surprise, twenty four of the twenty eight tablets were missing from the box!!! In other words, only one of the seven blister packs that were suppossed to be in the box were there. 
Obviously, since the boxes were sealed when I recieved them and there was no sign of tampering, the shortage occurred at the factory where Cephalon packages its medicines.  EITHER a machine shorted the box, or someone got sticky fingers on the assembly line.
When i contacted Cephalon, I was given this as my only option:  Get another prescription from my doctor for the 24 pills, and they would pay for them.  As all of you know, this was not going to happen for obvious reasons.  I explained to them that when a patient says that their medication was lost/stolen/tampered with/shorted at pharmacy, their doctor is automatically suspicious.  In my situation, my pain doctor uses documentation to record an incident.  So, not wanting to give my doctor any reason to not trust me, I did not ask for a replacment prescription from my doctor.  Basically, Cephalon told me that I was screwed and that there was nothing that I could do about it.  They said that since it was a controlled substance, they just could not send me replacement medication because of the governement controls.  I said, " If these drugs are controlled so strictly, then how could you let your factory make such a major error?" I got no response on this.  See, Cephalon outsources the packaging of the drugs so they really don't know whats going on in the factories.  They know that people are getting shorted on their meds because they have a policy to deal with situations like this. I was also given the option to take a cash payment in lieu of getting my doctor to write another prescription.  In essence they were saying, "We screwed up, we know some boxes are making it out of the factory short, and we're going to pay you off."
So, for those of you taking Fentora, watch out.  If it happened to me, it can happen to you.  When you get your boxes, open them in front of the pharmacist who filled the script or the delivery man who delivered them. IF you get a short box, you are going to need someone to verify that they saw the boxed opened.  And, DO NOT EVER go back to your doctor requesting a new script for the lost meds.  THis is a sure way to get kicked out of your doctor's practice, and/or lose that doctor's trust for good.  

Stella Marie
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 601
   Posted 8/22/2007 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for this information. Since I am a Fentora user I realize what a nightmare this must be for you. I really appreaciate your taking the time to give us all a heads up. I will definately open my boxes at the pharmacy. The few extra minutes it takes to open them could prevent a real shock like you received when you opened your boxes.

Stella Marie

Dx:  Rare progressive neurodegenerative disease called Multiple System Atrophy (brain rot, autonomic system failure, neuropathic pain and a whole lot more).  Added improvements:  Intrathecal pump and a spinal cord stimulator..

 Medications: Sinemet, Requip, Klonopin, Baclofen, Provigil, Lyrica, Fentanyl patches, Lidoderm patches, Dilaudid, Fentora and Zofran

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 8/22/2007 10:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Stella, the lot number on my boxes was 230048? I believe. If you see this number on your boxes, be especially careful.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9242
   Posted 8/23/2007 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
One question...where the missing ones were, were the blisters open or just empty and no sign of tampering. If the latter is the case then you have your proof that it happened at the factory. If they had been opened then not.

Just a thought,
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 8/25/2007 12:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Chutz: No, thats the problem. The box was completely sealed when I opened it up. There was no sign of external tampering, only crushed edges which is normal wear and tear. When I opened the box up, only one blister pack of four tablets was in the box. That blister pack was fine, no tampering. It just so happened that six of the seven blister packs were just not in the box. I tried to get the pharmacy that shipped them to find the shipping weight because i could compare the weight of the box that they came in to the weight of what the box should have weighed and that would be sufficient proof. I also contacted Cephalon, and cephalon has no idea what its packaging department is doing or not doing. Its like the right hand doesnt know what the left hand is doing.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 9/1/2007 3:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys, just an addendum to this event: I just got this month's shipment of Fentora today. This time, I had the foresite to hold the Fedex driver there until I opened all of the boxes and verified their content. At my appointment, surprisingly, my doctor didnt really give me a headache over the whole missing medication issue. He refilled my meds with no issue. Still, I really want to make sure that this does not happen to anyone else. If anyone has any questions on this, please email me @z148858@niu.edu. ~painKILLER

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/11/2011 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   
hi, I have been taking Fentora for about 6 months now and the 'vouchers' i was given by my doctor are no longer available . How do I sign up for the grant from Cephalon for patient assistance? I would have to spend a half a months pay check just to fill one prescription


Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 12/11/2011 7:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Robin!

Well it looks like you have happened upon a very old thread here on HW. When that happens…we find that most of the members that were active at that time are no longer here to answer your question.

For that reason, I'm going to ask that you start a new thread, by clicking the button in the upper lefthand corner called "Start a New Post"

I believe you will get a lot more attention from our current members…and of course we want the best for you.

I'm going to lock this thread, so that this does not happen again, but members will still be able to read the content.

Hope to see you there! In fact I think I will start a thread for you! Here is a hot link that will get you to our home page.


SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

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Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 12/11/2011 5:56:25 PM (GMT-7)

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