Pharmacists could have many reasons to not honour doctor-written prescriptions

One Lake Cowichan resident is confused as to why a pharmacist did not honour her mother’s prescription.
The resident contacted the Gazette with her complaint, saying that a pharmacist asked her mother - a senior citizen - to see her doctor every month for a new prescription, despite the doctor writing her a three-month prescription.

  • Jun. 12, 2011 12:00 p.m.

 

One Lake Cowichan resident is confused as to why a pharmacist did not honour her mother’s prescription.

The resident contacted the Gazette with her complaint, saying that a pharmacist asked her mother – a senior citizen – to see her doctor every month for a new prescription, despite the doctor writing her a three-month prescription.

Out of fear it was a cash grab [the pharmacist receives a dispensing fee for every prescription handed out], the local resident’s intention in contacting the Gazette was to help spread the word to the area’s many senior citizens.

The director of communications for the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia Lori Decou said that the resident’s fears may be valid, but not necessarily so.

“I’d like to give you a black and white answer, but it depends on the drug itself,” Decou said.

If it’s a type of drug patients tend to not stay on, a single month may be provided in order to minimize waste.

A denial of the three months could also be a means of reducing harm to patients.

If they have a history of dosage ignoring guidelines, the pharmacist may make such a decision.

A patient’s drug plan could also affect the decision the pharmacist is not only able to make, but obligated to make, to honour a prescription’s time line.

“There are all kinds of factors that come in,” she said.

But, should anyone believe that a pharmacist is making this, or another decision, for a reason outside the legally-set guidelines, she encourages them to call the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia at 1-800-663-1940.

A common misconception is that the organization is there to protect pharmacists.

This is the complete opposite of the truth, as their mandate is to protect patients.

If someone comes forth with a complaint, Decou said, “We are legislatively required to do something about it.”

 

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