Medical & Legal Responsibilities for Prescription Drugs

Written by chanel adams
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Medical & Legal Responsibilities for Prescription Drugs
Pharmacists should be aware of the legal responsibilities of handling prescription drugs. (medicines image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com)

Pharmacists have a significant responsibility when dispensing prescription drugs to consumers. They have to make sure that these substances are available for legitimate medical and scientific purposes. The Drug Enforcement Administration created guidelines which will protect the legitimate medical uses of these prescriptions and will prevent drug diversion. Health professionals should become aware of the state and federal laws. They should also talk about drug abuse problems so they can find ways to prevent it from happening. These are the beginning steps to take when dispensing prescription drugs.

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Responsibile for Drug Diversion

Pharmacists and other health care professionals have to be responsible for drug diversion. Drug diversion is a diversion of legal drugs for illegal purposes. The consumer could abuse or sell the drugs. In order to prevent drug diversion, health care professionals should become aware of the legal and state regulations for dispensing these substances. They should also become aware of where drug diversion can occur and how to take any preventive methods against it. This involves talking about the issue with other pharmacists in their department. Together, they can come up with ways of dealing with the problem.

Recognising Fraudulent Prescriptions

Pharmacists have the responsibility of becoming aware of the various types of forged prescriptions that they come across. Some patients will alter the prescription by using a different call back number. Other patients may call in their own prescriptions and give their own telephone number as a call back number. They can also steal prescription pads from doctor's offices or hospitals. Patients can write a fictitious name and address on them. Pharmacists must make sure that the information they receive on a prescription is accurate.

Recognising Patient Behaviors

The quantity of drugs and frequency of prescriptions is not the only indicator for fraud or improper handling of prescription drugs. Such is the case when the patient is using opioids for pain. Pharmacists should also be aware of any odd behaviour that may take place with the patient. Health professionals can look out for a few cues. The patient may have a prescription for a larger quantity than normal, the prescriber may also request depressants or stimulants, or there are biweekly or weekly prescriptionsrequests. A group of patients could also come in presenting similar prescriptions from the same physician. If a pharmacist is in doubt, she should check the patient's identification and call the prescriber for verification on the prescription. If she feels that the prescription is forged or fraudulent, then she should contact the police department.

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