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Organizations collaborate for responsible prescribing, dispensing of controlled substances
e-Reports, Feb. 24, 2014
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The 13 stakeholder organizations collaborating:
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Medical Association
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • Cardinal Health
  • CVS Caremark
  • Federation of State Medical Boards (observer)
  • National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • National Community Pharmacists Association
  • Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
  • Rite Aid
  • Walgreen Co.

Collaborative actions by 13 health care organizations (see right) have produced agreement to remove barriers for your patients securing controlled substance prescriptions.

Last year at this time, ISMA members reported receiving calls from local pharmacists – most initially from Walgreens – seeking information about patients prescribed controlled substances. Before filling the prescriptions, pharmacists wanted answers to questions about diagnosis codes, treatment history, care plans – and more. (See here.)

As it turns out, the activity was occurring at drug store chains nationwide, following the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s discipline of some major pharmacies in Florida.

Following up in Indiana
The Indiana Board of Pharmacy (IBP) called Walgreens representatives to a meeting last fall to discuss the issue.

Again this month, the IBP called pharmacists together to address practices used to determine if a medical prescription is legitimate. However, this time, it was not just Walgreens pharmacists but also those from Meijer, CVS and Kroger who testified before the IBP meeting about the “corresponding responsibility” pharmacists have toward patients. Read more about this responsibility at the DOJ website.

The ISMA’s Mike Rinebold, director of Government Relations, attended the IBP sessions to reassure participants about our organization’s efforts to educate members about controlled substance prescribing.

“We kicked off with our Pain Management Seminar in December 2012, which featured author and national expert Scott Fishman, M.D., and the ISMA continued to deliver presentations at district meetings,” Rinebold said. “Following passage of legislation on substance prescribing, SB 246, we are continuing to educate doctors through ongoing webinars.” (See the ISMA controlled substances page.)

Rinebold further noted, “The ISMA, pharmacists, national drug store chains and the IBP have now opened a dialogue about standard policies the pharmacists must follow – including communication with their physicians – that should help resolve issues more quickly in the future.”

About our NEW state law
New opioid prescribing rules for Indiana took effect Dec. 15, 2013, and were developed by more than 50 physicians from around the state. Find out more about the rules on the ISMA website.

Addressing issues across the nation
Stakeholders came together in the fall at headquarters of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to discuss the country's prescription drug abuse epidemic, ways to ensure the validity of controlled substance prescriptions and verify the legitimate medical need for prescribing them.

The participants recognized the need for improvement in coordination and collaboration, and acknowledged that earlier policies were not intended to “intrude into the scopes of practice or authority of other stakeholders.”

The coalition issued a consensus statement Feb. 4 outlining collaborative steps they will take to help ensure the delivery of responsible and effective patient care – as it relates to the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances. They promise to develop a “red flags” document that will identify the need to review the legitimacy of a controlled substance prescription.

A second document to be forthcoming will highlight actions the organizations will take to improve dialogue among them so the red flags are addressed, in compliance with federal and state laws. The intent is to support practitioners in delivering the most appropriate patient care.

Find the consensus document here.

About federal and state laws
Federal law requires that prescriptions for controlled substances be issued for legitimate medical purposes by individual practitioners acting in the usual course of their professional practice. That same law imposes responsibility on pharmacists who fill the prescriptions. If pharmacists knowingly fill improper prescriptions, they, as well as the prescribers, can be punished.

Similarly, state law requires pharmacists performing their duties to exercise professional judgment in the best interest of patients’ health. Before honoring prescriptions, they are required to take reasonable steps to determine whether a prescription has been issued in compliance with state law.
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