Read any paper, and you might be defied with things linked to the opioid crisis. Whether the news is highlighting loss related to treatments, over-prescriptions, a prescription grey business or doctors transferring patients to pill manufactories, the focus is one: too many opioids are being ordered, and it’s time for pharmacologists to take on extra roles in the national fight against opioid dependence and death.
Some states have achieved new rules compared to a pharmacy’s writing obligations, while other ranges, such as New York, are taking delivery companies to court.
Possible Drugs In Use
What role do drugstores play inpatient habit, and what should pharmacologists do to prepare themselves if served with a subpoena or covered with an audit? Careful recordkeeping is of most importance. Pharmacologists, at a minimum, should ask themselves the following when receiving direction orders:
- How many physicians write directions for the patient, and how many of those directions are for opioids?
- How often does the gentle change degrees?
- For what condition is the opioid being appointed?
- How many refills are required, and does the subject seek early refills?
- Are several members of a household receiving prescriptions for controlled items? If so, does the drugstore have a connection with those family members?
- Is the pharmacologist aware or has a consistent belief that another drugstore refused the prescription?
- What percentage of prescriptions being filled by the pharmacy are for controlled substances?
- What interest of medicine customers are filling directions for opioids, and for what period are they being refilled?
- What rules are in place to prevent drug loss and theft?
- When filling prescriptions, are all pharmacists determining whether the medicine is being sought to fulfill a medical purpose and are in line with a physician’s prescribing habits?
Pharmacologists play an indispensable role in patient health, and pharmacologists should not be on autopilot. In some cases, pharmacologists step into the shoes of a sufferer who cannot advocate for him or herself or lack information to ask the right issues.
The Example Case
For instance, some cases are grossly unaware of all of the medicines they ingest and rely on their pharmacologists to advise them if multiple medications cannot interact with each other. While illogical, many cases cannot recite their medicines by both name and dose. This puts doctors at damage if a patient has doctors in multiple hospital systems where records are not shared.
Extrapolating this puzzle into the opioid comparison can lead to unsolvable problems. This is likely the reason behind the “equal burden” rule found in 21 CFR § 1306.04, “the ability for the proper prescribing and administering of controlled substances is upon the prescribing practitioner, but a similar responsibility rests with the pharmacologist who fills the medicine.”
Currently, trials are focusing on drug administrators like RDC and McKesson, which dispense opioid drugs to medicines, which in turn distribute those medications to patients.
But from 2017 to the present, many pharmacy owners have been imprisoned and fined millions of dollars for filling fake medicines. For instance, in 2017, a New Jersey pharmacologist, Michael Ludwikowski, was convicted in federal court of distributing and illegally dispensing oxycodone from two pharmacies that he owned.
To Sum Up
In 2019, Pauline Tilton, an authorized pharmacologist and owner of Oasis Pharmacy in Victorville, CA, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for illegally distributing oxycodone by filling hundreds of counterfeit prescriptions.
Drugstores need to train staff on spotting faux prescriptions and complying with state and federal laws, particularly as they relate to regulated substances.