Additional painkiller training mandated for Florida pharmacists

October 12, 2015

The Florida Board of Pharmacy recently approved a new rule mandating additional training for pharmacists in connection with the dispensing of controlled substances.

The Florida Board of Pharmacy recently approved a new rule mandating additional training for pharmacists in connection with the dispensing of controlled substances.

The purpose of the rule is to change the mindset of some pharmacists whose resistance to filling prescriptions for controlled substances has prevented legitimate patients from obtaining their medications.

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"Instead of starting out with trying to find a reason to doubt a prescription, you start off with an assumption that everything in the prescription is good, and you work toward achieving patient access," Michael Jackson, executive vice president of the Florida Pharmacy Association, toldTheNews-Press.

Obstacles

Following the state’s crackdown on pill mills, some patients have complained that they cannot get pharmacies to fill legitimate painkiller scripts and that they sometimes have to travel to dozens of pharmacies before being able to fill a prescription.

Pharmacists have complained the distributors have cut back on narcotics supplies and that they are under more scrutiny to insure prescriptions are “medically necessary.” In recent years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has fined pharmacy chains, pharmacists, doctors, and suppliers for their roles in providing painkillers to people who should not have received them.

 

Solutions

The new rule requires pharmacists to take a two-hour course titled, "Validation of Prescriptions for Controlled Substances." Pharmacists will have until 2017 to take the course.

Pharmacy board members hope the education requirement will help legitimate patients get their prescriptions filled. "If [the prescription] is a legitimate purpose and we can get in touch with the prescriber if we need to, [patients] should find it much easier than they have in the past," said Michele Weizer, chairwoman of the board of pharmacy.

State legislators must approve the additional education requirement. However, Jackson suggests, legitimate patients can improve their chances of getting painkillers prescriptions filled by establishing relationships with pharmacies and pharmacists.

"If you establish a pharmacist-patient relationship, just like a physician-patient relationship, you'll have a healthcare provider who's more motivated to work to resolve your problems,'' Jackson said. "But screaming and yelling at pharmacists will only create doubt in the pharmacists' mind that there's something going on here that they're not sure they understand."