Published Online: Thursday, November 1, 2007

Legislation under consideration by lawmakers in Georgia would grant pharmacists in the state increased flexibility in substituting generics for brand name drugs prescribed by physicians. The bill, sponsored by Rep Buddy Carter, would allow such substitutions without checking back with the prescriber, provided that the switches were preauthorized by the prescriber. For guidance on determining which drugs to switch, pharmacists would use lists supplied by the patient's insurance plan—a move designed to control the cost of prescription coverage.

According to Carter, himself an independent pharmacist, the increased flexibility to substitute generics would save precious time for patients who now must wait until their doctors are contacted to approve a substitution. Others, however, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, have criticized the bill for empowering insurance carriers to pressure doctors to prescribe generics.

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