Magazine article Drug Topics

You're on Your Honor Now in Following Counseling Regs

Magazine article Drug Topics

You're on Your Honor Now in Following Counseling Regs

Article excerpt

State pharmacy boards will apparently put pharmacists on the honor system when it comes to counseling patients under new regulations spawned by pharmaceutical care and OBRA '90, according to a sampling of sentiment around the country.

Voluntary compliance was the message repeated by many pharmacy board officials. The prevailing sentiment was summed up by executive secretary Paul Boisseau, who said his New Hampshire board feels that everyone has to grow into changing rules. "Most pharmacists were already providing patient counseling, but obviously it can be scary to see three pages of rules and wonder how you'll find time to do it all," he said. "It will be a gradual, soft approach. Nobody will be out there next week undercover to see if pharmacists are providing patient counseling."

New Mexico board Executive director Richard Thompson also touted voluntary compliance, adding, "The majority of pharmacists recognize the importance of patient counseling in rational drug therapy."

Pharmacists will have to blatantly ignore Missouri's new rules to bring down the pharmacy board's ire. Kevin Kinkade, executive director, added, "It's kind of hard to decide whether someone is violating the law unless they violate it badly enough while an inspector is standing right there by not offering to counsel. I can't imagine that would happen very often."

Trusting voluntary compliance does not imply that pharmacy boards will let pharmacists take their patient counseling responsibilities lightly. State regulations do include penalties for failure to counsel--reprimand, license suspension or revocation, and fines.

Inspectors on routine pharmacy visits will carry the compliance load for pharmacy boards. Come August, Florida's inspectors will be enforcing rules on counseling, record-keeping, and drug utilization review, said executive director John Taylor. He added that an additional enforcement tool might be an undercover operation to check compliance, "but the board has not discussed that option." Missouri likewise has no plans to use shoppers for routine spot checks, "unless it was part of an active investigation," said Kinkade.

Once the public comes to expect patient counseling, board officials expect to start hearing complaints. …

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