Concerns Raised Over Practice of Filling Prescriptions In-Office
Over the past few years, more and more doctors have stopped writing prescriptions for their patients. Instead, they dispense the necessary medicines in their offices. This process has raised some questions from patient advocates and health care officials alike.
Those who support the idea of doctors selling prescription medications in their offices argue that it is a huge benefit to patients. According to Philly.com, proponents claim it is more convenient for patients. Advocates also assert that if doctors are more familiar with the cost of medications they will be more likely to use generic forms or other substitutions to save patients money. Furthermore, when doctors are the ones dispensing medications, prescription orders cannot be misinterpreted, which may protect against patients receiving the wrong medicine.
Despite the apparent benefits, there are also those who have expressed numerous concerns. Doctors may not have the full, updated list of every medication a patient takes, which could result in bad drug interactions. They also are unlikely to have pharmacy software to track potential medicine mistakes. A pharmacist also serves as a second set of eyes to examine prescriptions and act as a safety net.
Additionally, doctors are not subject to the same regulations as pharmacists. They are not required to have standard labels on their medications and questions have been raised over whether the doctors are the ones filling the prescriptions or if other office staff members dispense the medication and consult with patients. Questions have also been raised on the possible conflict of interest and whether doctors might be tempted to prescribe more expensive medications in order to make more money.