Pharmacy board looking to improve access to prescription drugs

Pharmacy board looking to improve access to prescription drugs

Pharmacy board looking to improve access to prescription drugs

In previous posts, we’ve discussed how the Florida Board of Pharmacy has attempted to crackdown on the problem of prescription drug abuse and its associated fatalities via the now infamous “Standards of Practice for the Dispensing of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain.”

We say infamous because these rather exacting standards have resulted in a phenomenon known as the “pharmacy crawl,” whereby patients with debilitating conditions cannot get their otherwise valid prescriptions filled at local pharmacies and are therefore forced to go on an exhausting — and sometimes unsuccessful — search for one willing to help them.

In recent developments, a subcommittee of the Pharmacy Board convened earlier this week to hear testimony from patients, physicians and pharmacists on this issue. However, rather than being just a platform for these groups to air their frustrations, the hearing actually produced what could prove to be some real results.

Indeed, the Florida Controlled Substances Standards Subcommittee agreed to proposed amendments to the rule that are designed to help both patients and pharmacists, including:

  • Altering its language such that it’s made 100 percent clear that any pharmacists who fill prescriptions for controlled substances written by physicians for legitimate medical purposes need not fear any professional discipline.
  • Requiring all pharmacists to take a two-hour class every two years focused on ensuring patient access to controlled substances.
  • Eliminating certain “red flag” provisions

While these efforts are being lauded by many in the medical community, there are some who argue that they don’t go far enough. Indeed, even board members have conceded that the proposed amendments will likely do little to deter the perhaps overzealous crackdown efforts of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency or the corporate policies of the large pharmacy chains calling for limited distribution of controlled substances.

Reports indicate that these proposed amendments will likely come up for a final vote sometime in the next two weeks. Stay tuned for developments.

If you’ve been charged with any sort of criminal offense relating to prescription drugs, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Pharmacy board looking to improve access to prescription drugs