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Enforce This . . . How?

  /   Thursday July 01, 2004  

I just received word today from the Tennessee Pharmacists Association that a new law went into effect in Tennessee requiring prescribers to print or type their prescriptions. The law states further that prescribers must spell out the quantity in words on each prescription. The purpose of this is to prevent medication errors due to illegible prescriptions.

I do not question the intent of the law. As a pharmacist, I can tell you that illegible prescriptions are a major, major headache. The problem arises in that I have yet to hear how the state intends to enforce this law. I just can’t imagine a pharmacist calling a doctor saying “Sorry, I can’t fill this because you didn’t print.” Indeed, without the backing of the Board of Medicine or civil or criminal penalties involved, this law will be utterly unenforceable.

Even if they did have a means to enforce it, they would still have a lot of trouble doing so. I can just imagine now if pharmacists were to fax their illegibles to a regulatory agency to assess a fine. In many cases, they would never be able to figure out who wrote it. Many prescription pads are printed with the name of multiple doctors, and the most illegible part of a prescription is the doctor’s signature.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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