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

JANUARY 25, 2010
Fred Eckel, Editor-in-Chief, Pharmacy Times
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


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