It's like a vehicle and gas. No one needs to tell you, hopefully, to put gas in the tank so your car will work. However, neither your car nor the valuable petrol require a prescription. In the world of medicine, most insulins and pen needles do require a prescription.
Okay, where is this going? Simply put, why can prescribers not understand that in order to administer insulin, primarily from pens, a patient requires pen needles? Why do they insist on writing hastily scrawled orders for insulin, but not the device to administer them? I like to call them back and politely remind them they forgot something...
(For today's exercise, let's assume I am speaking solely about patients who are initiating therapy on insulin. This is the first prescription they are receiving. The doctor obviously knows this.)
Forgetful Writer: What's the problem?
CP: You wrote prescriptions for this patient, new to insulin, to receive Levemir and Lantus insulin pens.
FW: Yes. I wrote an Rx for each one.
CP: You did.
FW: Then what's the problem?
CP: I was just wondering how the patient was going to get the life-saving serum from the pen and into the subcutaneous layer of her skin.
FW: I would imagine syringes would be most helpful.
CP: Actually pen needles would be more appropriate. Nevertheless, here's what I'll do for you. I will write a prescription, attach your name to it, then document that we spoke and send the patient on her way, none the wiser that I saved her multiple trips to my pharmacy or multiple phone calls to your office to pester you for something as important as her needles. Sound good?
FW: Absolutely. Thank you for saving my butt once again. I wish I had gone to pharmacy school like you. People always find you more approachable than I. You're also incredibly respected, intelligent and witty. Glad you have my back...
CP: Aw, so kind. I'm blushing. Just doing my job ma'am.