Whose Prescription Is It Anyway?

By Bliss, Susan J | Drug Topics, February 11, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Whose Prescription Is It Anyway?


Bliss, Susan J, Drug Topics


Q: A worried man in his forties comes to your pharmacy and shows you the pill in his hand. He wants to know how it is used. You are quite sure that it's a birth control pill. A week later, a woman picks up a prescription for her boyfriend and asks you what the drug is for. The prescription is for genital herpes. How should you approach these questions?

A: It is easiest to sort out these conflicts by starting with the extremes and working toward the finer points. In the 1970s, the Monty Python comedy troupe filmed a sketch about pharmacists (who are called chemists in England) that could be used to demonstrate how not to follow HIPAA rules. The pharmacists shouted out the patients' medical conditions from the pharmacy counter, bellowing: "OK, who's got the hemorrhoids?" The humiliated patients then crawled to the pharmacy counter to retrieve their medications.

In addition to observing HIPAA, pharmacists also have a clear duty to warn. The pharmacist (the expert) is required to warn the patient (the non-expert) about the hazards and appropriate use of medication. For example, pharmacists would agree that if the patient is not warned about potential drowsiness from pain medications, the pharmacist has failed in that duty. This responsibility also extends to information. When a pharmacist advises a patient about OTC or prescription drugs, a relationship is established. The patient trusts that the advice is both competent and confidential.

The real trouble begins when the questions are asked indirectly. Often, the patient waits in the car while the spouse runs in to pick up a prescription. Since the spouse has the prescription (and the insurance card), he or she represents the patient and has implied permission to assist and transmit information. If the patient usually sees another pharmacist, it may be necessary to coordinate care with that pharmacist; there may also be conflicts in drug therapy (often caught by insurance DUR systems) that must be resolved.

Be especially careful when:

*The issue is very personal (i.e., involving the patient's sex life, mental health, or HIV/AIDS).

*The patient has no relationship with you (no previous advice or care).

*The patient is under legal age (and still dependent upon a parent or guardian).

*The patient is unrelated to the person asking the questions.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Whose Prescription Is It Anyway?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?