The Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) quickly killed a proposal that would have required pharmacists to contact the prescribing physician for each new patient with a prescription for a controlled substance.
The decision came at a crowded TSBP meeting Feb. 11.
"Another bureaucratic obstacle to medical practice has been stopped," said TMA General Counsel Donald "Rocky" Wilcox.
The plan, which was never published as a formal rule proposal, stemmed as a possible response to the increased scrutiny pharmacies face from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies to curb the abuse of prescription narcotics.
"The relationships between physicians and pharmacists in Texas have long been productive and effective," Mr. Wilcox wrote to TSBP Executive Director Gay Dodson, RPh, before the meeting. "If pharmacists have an issue with a prescription presented to them (such as a red flag as to its authenticity, or even a concern about an allergy or potential drug interaction), they are certainly permitted to call the prescribing physician and discuss their concerns.
"While TMA recognizes that pharmacists share the responsibility of ensuring that prescriptions for controlled substances are issued for a legitimate medical purpose, that responsibility does not extend to pharmacists the right, or duty, to question physicians' independent medical judgment. … It is not the role of pharmacists to tell a physician or patient what is and is not an appropriate course of treatment," he wrote.
Several board members spoke out strongly against the idea. "A rule of this nature does nothing to the bad actors; it is only onerous to those trying to do it right," said TSBP Vice President Dennis Wiesner, RPh. "Questioning doctors on their practice can be a can of worms, if not a hive of bees."
Board President Jeanne Waggener, RPh, praised medicine, pharmacy, and pharmaceutical manufacturing firms for working together to find productive ways to fight narcotic abuse. She specifically pointed to the first of several expected consensus documents produced by a stakeholders group that includes the American Medical Association and others.
Action, Feb. 18, 2014