For more than a year, the ISMA has heard from members that pharmacists were aggressively invoking their legal “corresponding responsibility” to ensure controlled substances were dispensed for legitimate medical purposes. At ISMA's urging Indiana has now acted to address this issue, which has been occurring nationally, presenting barriers for patients and prescribers.
“The Indiana Board of Pharmacy has taken the uncommon step of issuing a guidance to clarify the corresponding responsibility pharmacists have by law,” said Mike Rinebold, ISMA director of Government Relations. “We are pleased to see these guidelines actually conclude with the statement that ‘the Board does not expect pharmacists to practice medicine.’”
Cautioning pharmacists not to assign guilt to anyone, the guidelines list “red flags” pharmacists should be aware of, including:
- Prescriptions for combinations of frequently abused controlled substances such as opiates, benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants
- Prescriptions written by types of practitioners who normally do not prescribe controlled substances
- Patients or prescribers from outside the local geographical region
- Similar quantities of similar drugs being prescribed by the same practitioner
- Patients paying cash
The board advised pharmacists to use their professional judgment and training to make decisions. Pharmacists should not fear discipline for honoring controlled substance prescriptions for legitimate medical purposes, and the state’s new opioid prescribing rules do not place any new requirements on pharmacists.
“Physicians can certainly present these guidelines to pharmacies in their area when they experience challenges to their legitimate prescriptions,” Rinebold advised.
Find the newly released guidelines at in.gov.
You may also want to refer to the Feb. 24 issue of ISMA Reports that discussed steps national organizations are taking to address the concept of a pharmacist’s corresponding responsibility.
“With the state’s emergency pain management prescribing rules in place and this dispensing guidance now available for pharmacists, the focus of our attention is how to improve the pain management final rules as they are adopted later this year. Also, we want to continue facilitating communication between doctors, pharmacists and patients,” said Rinebold. “There is a great deal of misinformation out there that has caused a fundamental breakdown in this relationship and patient care. This has to be restored.”
The ISMA is scheduling meetings with the major pharmacy chains to address the situation.
*Report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Efforts to halt the drug abuse epidemic continue to grow with documentary for teens
Indiana and the nation continue fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic. You and every prescriber have a role to play – following Indiana’s new opioid prescribing rules and helping decrease the deaths from prescription drug overdose that occur every 25 minutes.
Find resources and information about Indiana’s new law on the ISMA website.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a video message to the nation March 10 that announced the expansion of an education program for doctors, pharmacists and health care professionals to help them better identify diversion.
“The Justice Department is committed to both.”
Watch Holder’s video message at the DOJ website or read it here.
Also, view a powerful short documentary directed at teens about the dangers of substance abuse; find “The Opiate Effect” here.
The video is in the public domain, so it may be freely shared with members of your community. Intended to serve as an educational tool, it tells the story of a son and brother lost to addiction and overdose.