Board advises pharmacists: 'Patients first' over 'refusals to fill' opioid prescriptions

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — In a pointed letter addressed to pharmacists, the chair of the state Board of Pharmacy is reminding pharmacists of their duty to patients involving controlled substances.

The letter, sent to pharmacists following a Channel 2 report on Alaskans with chronic pain struggling to have their opioid prescriptions filled, states "The Board of Pharmacy has had an influx of communication concerning patients not able to get controlled substance prescriptions filled for various reasons, even when sign of forgery or fraudulence were not presented."

Board Chair Richard Holt gave five guidelines and reminders on the practice of dispensing controlled substances.

[Click here to read the full letter]

On Friday afternoon, the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development issued an urgent notice urging pharmacies to consult a patient's doctor before refusing their opioid prescription.

"The prescribing practitioner has full authority to make a diagnosis and determine the appropriate course of treatment, including dosage and quantity of a controlled substance," Sara Chambers, director of the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, said in the release. "The patient's best interest must come first, and pharmacists are valued partners in the healthcare team; however, they are not prescribers and should not refuse to fill a valid prescription without first consulting with the prescribing practitioner."



 
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