Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Benefit Pharmacists
PDMPs help patients, but they can also help pharmacists.
Walgreens encouages PDMP usage
Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 1306.04, states that: A responsibility for the proper prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances is upon the prescribing practitioner, but a corresponding responsibility rests with the pharmacist who fills the prescription.
In recent years, legal cases involving the Drug Enforcement Agency made it clear that, when a pharmacist feels that a prescription is questionable, simply calling a doctor’s office to verify that prescription does not always satisfy the verification requirements, said George.
As a result, Walgreens directed pharmacists to use their professional judgment, training, and experience to ensure that a prescription is valid and issued for a legitimate medical purpose. It also identified the use of PDMPs as one way pharmacists can help validate questionable prescriptions.
Walgreens also identified five questions pharmacists should ask to identify if a prescription is questionable:
The questions “helped give our pharmacists a guiding principle,” said George.
Pharmacists were asking patients and providers more questions related to prescriptions, and some patients were experiencing processing delays. However, more pharmacists were registering for and using PDMPs, and pharmacists were more safely dispensing controlled substance prescriptions, said George. “We’re not here to second-guess the doctors, we’re really trying to do what’s best for the patient.”
All pharmacies should have policies that support the use of a PDMP as part of the pharmacists’ corresponding responsibility, said George.
In addition to using PDMPs in situations that raise concerns, pharmacists should check the PDMP when encountering out-of-state prescriptions, early refills, and cash prescriptions. He added that these red flags are probably more visible to pharmacists than to prescribers.
“Each one of us, whether practitioner, or pharmacist, is a piece of the puzzle,” he said.