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Pharmacy Law

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Overview

One of the most perplexing and troublesome issues a pharmacist can face is determining whether an opioid prescription is legitimately written for the treatment of pain management. When patients present multiple opioid prescriptions for very large quantities and very high dosages from the same prescriber or the same few prescribers, pharmacists are often at odds over what direction to take.

Law and ethics converge to create a professional dilemma for pharmacists. On one hand, pharmacists have a legal responsibility to prevent the diversion of controlled substances. On the other hand, pharmacists have an ethical responsibility to ensure that legitimate pain patients receive the treatment they are legally and ethically entitled to. The illegal diversion and abuse of prescription opioids is increasing, but it should not mitigate the fact that pain patients are generally under-treated and deserve treatment.

This issue guides pharmacists in determining the legitimacy of prescriptions. It reviews the positions that federal regulators and law enforcement authorities have taken on the use of opioids for pain and the current standards of practice for pain management. The Corresponding Responsibility Doctrine is explained in detail with examples of actual court cases involving pharmacists.

Details

Publication Date: 11/01/2009
Expiration Date: 11/01/2012
CE Credit: 2.0 (0.20 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.

Authors

Richard R. Abood, B.S. Pharm., J.D., Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Thomas J Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA.

Disclosure Statement

Richard R. Abood reports no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists and nurses.

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Describe the complexities healthcare professionals face with chronic pain management that make it difficult to ensure adequate pain treatment in appropriate patients.
    2. Explain the Corresponding Responsibility Doctrine and how it has been applied to court cases involving pharmacists.
    3. List methods that can assist pharmacists in determining the legitimacy of opioid prescriptions.
    4. Discuss the legally accepted standards for the treatment of pain in an addict.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc. Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 2.0 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Editor and CE Administrator

Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Associate Editor and CE Coordinator

Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors

James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Ron Finley, RPh
Lecturer
Department of Clinical Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Associate Member of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center
Alzheimer's Research Center

Consultant Pharmacist to the Institute on Aging-On Lok Senior Health
Institute on Aging Alzheimer's Day Care Center

Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Drug Information Coordinator
Stanford Hospital and Clinics
Stanford University Medical Center
Stanford, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDE, CGP, FASCP
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacotherapy
College of Pharmacy
Washington State University
And
Elder Services of Spokane
Spokane, WA

Candy Tsourounis, PharmD
Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
Medication Outcomes Center
Department of Clinical Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Senior Editorial Advisor

Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors

Jocelyn Chan, PharmD
Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD


Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners

Emily K. Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

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