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Do Pharmacists Have a Contribution to Make in the Controlled Substance Arena?

Monday, January 25th, 2010
A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses a very interesting legal issue about whether pharmacies—if they have been notified of a possible controlled substance abuse situation—should be held responsible for the actions of the drug-abusing patient. Clearly, controlled substance abuse and diversion is a major problem in health care. All kinds of efforts to reduce and/or control this problem, such as state-level Controlled Substance Reporting Programs, have been implemented.

Do pharmacists have a contribution to make in the controlled substance arena?

Should pharmacists be expected to function like a law enforcement officer, keeping people from getting drugs they may be abusing or selling? How much time should someone in the pharmacy spend assuring that a controlled substance prescription is appropriate?

What do you think is the pharmacist’s responsibility when dispensing a controlled substance prescription? Is this responsibility ultimately any different from what a pharmacist does when filling any other prescription?

Since I am not actively practicing pharmacy as a dispensing pharmacist, I’d be interested in hearing the opinions of pharmacists on the front line. Please send in your comments!

Fred Eckel
Editor-in-Chief
Pharmacy Times
Blog Info
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Description
This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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