Magazine article Drug Topics

Cipro Rxs Need Professional Judgment, Say Officials

Magazine article Drug Topics

Cipro Rxs Need Professional Judgment, Say Officials

Article excerpt

COMMUNITY PRACTICE

Pharmacists must use their best professional judgment about whether to fill Cipro prescriptions for people worried about a possible bioterrorist attack with anthrax, according to professional and regulatory officials.

Cipro prescriptions for anthrax fall within the pharmacist's general responsibility for ensuring that the Rx is valid and clinically appropriate, according to Susan Winckler, group director of policy and advocacy, American Pharmaceutical Association.

"If they believe that such a prescription is clinically inappropriate, then they should refuse to dispense it," said Winckler. "Some say that the customer is always right. Well, no. There is a clinical appropriateness question, and the pharmacist can't abdicate that responsibility."

The medical standard of practice was set when the Food & Drug Administration and the American Medical Association both advised physicians not to prescribe Cipro for anthrax prophylaxis or for hoarding by patients. That prohibition creates a dilemma for pharmacists, said Carmen Catizone, executive director, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

"The medical standard of practice indicates that the drug should not be prescribed," Catizone told Drug Topics. "However, the patient presents a prescription to the pharmacist and says, 'I told my doctor to give me this because I'm worried about anthrax, but I don't have any symptoms.' It's going to be difficult for the pharmacist not to dispense it. Technically, that's not a valid prescription if people are saying it shouldn't be prescribed. …

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