Pharmacists’ concerns are exacerbated when several patients present multiple opioid prescriptions for very large quantities and very high dosages from the same prescriber or the same few prescribers. However, large quantities and high dosages are often necessary and legitimate in order to adequately treat severe pain patients. Regulators, law enforcement agencies, and legislatures have clearly articulated that they condone this practice. (See inset, page 2.) Nonetheless, pharmacists may hesitate to dispense these prescriptions fearing the consequences of the legal/regulatory system. In particular, the law imposes a legal duty on pharmacists called the corresponding responsibility doctrine. Simply stated, the corresponding responsibility doctrine places upon the pharmacist an equal legal responsibility with the prescriber to ensure that the prescriptions are written for a legitimate medical purpose.
The treatment of addicts for addiction in the ordinary course of a prescriber’s practice is not a legitimate medical purpose. Except for limited circumstances as described by law, addicts may not be treated for addiction outside of licensed treatment programs. Treating addicts with opioids for pain is a legitimate medical purpose, but sometimes the real purpose of treatment can be hard to determine.
Pharmacists can engage in certain steps and incorporate tools to help them determine if prescriptions are legitimate. They can also help educate pain patients who receive opioids about how to prevent diversion. Diversion and abuse of legitimate prescription drugs, especially among youth, is a significant societal problem.
- This accredited program is targeted to pharmacy technicians.
This CE activity was developed by The Rx Consultant, a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.
CE activities for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians:
This continuing education (CE) activity meets the requirements of all state boards of pharmacy for approved continuing education hours. CE credit is automatically reported to CPE Monitor.
CE activities for Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists:
This continuing education activity meets the requirements of:
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for formally approved continuing education (CE) hours, and CE hours of pharmacotherapeutics.
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) for acceptable, accredited CE.
This is a pharmacotherapeutics/pharmacology CE activity.
Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.
Requirements for CE Credit
- Describe the complexities healthcare professionals face with chronic pain management that make it difficult to ensure adequate pain treatment in appropriate patients.
- Explain the Corresponding Responsibility Doctrine and how it has been applied to court cases involving pharmacists.
- List methods that can assist pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in determining the legitimacy of opioid prescriptions.
- Discuss the legally accepted standards for the treatment of pain in an addict.
Richard R. Abood, B.S. Pharmacy, J.D.
Brief Bio : Richard R. Abood, B.S. Pharm., J.D., Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Thomas J Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Disclosure : Mr. Abood reports no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.
Thomas J. Long
Disclosure : Dr. Hultgren report no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.
The CE Activity developed by The Rx Consultant