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New Walgreens Policy May Cause Your Pharmacist to Call Your Doctor

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Comments (1)

After Walgreens agreed to pay $80 million to settle DEA and Department of Justice charges for dispensing narcotic medications at some of its Florida pharmacies without exercising sufficient controls, Walgreens has a new policy regarding filling pain-killing drugs. Due to the tightened DEA scrutiny, Walgreens has beefed up its policy regarding dispensing narcotic medications.

The result?

Walgreens pharmacists may be on the phone more to doctors to confirm certain prescriptions, as a company policy was issued requiring their pharmacists to demand information before filling narcotic prescriptions. While the company is going forward with this policy to reduce drug abuse and inappropriate dispensing, the policy has triggered the American Medical Association (AMA) to create a new policy of its own.

The AMA’s new action in response to Walgreens Company’s policy states, it is “pharmacy intrusion into medical practice.” While some in the community feel that more phone calls from pharmacists about medication prescriptions will interfere with the practice of medicine, others feel that it is best for pharmacists and prescribers to discuss safety issues and be on the same page so that a pharmacy error or dangerous drug interaction is avoided.

AMA’s new resolution intends to curb retail pharmacy phone calls to physicians; however, it is important to note that phone calls for drug interactions, strengths of medication, and allergy concerns are totally appropriate. AMA stated that it is willing to develop “appropriate policy for pharmacists to work with physicians in order to reduce the incidence of drug diversion and inappropriate dispensing.” Until then, customers at Walgreens may have a hard time getting opioid pain relievers filled without a phone call to the prescribing doctor.

Although many believe Walgreens put this policy in place to satisfy the DEA, our pharmacy error attorneys at Kennedy Hodges do know that taking more time to fill any prescription does help minimize pharmacy mistakes. If you have received a wrong medication from a pharmacy error, call us today for a free consultation at (888) 526-7616.

This is BS. Verifying the script for pain meds and other controlled drugs is one thing, but, second guessing the doctor's course of care is ridiculous. What gives Walgreen's pharmacists the right to pry into the patients course of care? I only use Walgreen's when my regular pharmacy is closed (usually when I have to go to the ER late at night. I think Walgreen's is setting the stage to loose a lot of customers. I have a feeling the Walgreen's will loose a lot of their customers as a result of this. What has happened to our privacy pertaining to our healthcare with our MD's????
Posted by Will on September 26, 2013 at 02:00 PM

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