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Monday, December 10, 2012

Obey the Law

Rules, as they say, is rules.
I believe we have to live by them. All of us, by the same ones. Why do doctors always act as though we are just being a pain in the ass when we call them on something? For years, since I was an intern even, it has been illegal in my state to use a rubber stamp or other mechanical means for a doctor to sign a prescription. Yet somehow, I still see one occasionally. What happens when I call the doctor to alert them to this? (Mind you, all I am seeking to do is inform them it is illegal and to take it down now as a verbal order. Simple, right?)
Me: Is your office using a stamp for the doctor's signature?
Phone Lady: Yes.
Me: Did you know it is not a legal signature?
The responses generally come out as one of these:
PL: Why not? It's just...Amoxicillin, or It's just a Z-Pak, or It's just a Bowel Prep, or The doctor is out of the office today.
Me: I don't care what "it's just". The law states that a doctor must manually sign a prescription in the manner in which he would sign a check or legal document. That means with a pen. There are no exceptions for cases where "it's just amoxicillin" is acceptable.
This is usually followed by PL telling me I am the only pharmacy or pharmacist that calls them on this, that they have been doing this for years. Right. I am the only pharmacist who cares about my license. Apparently, all the other times I called, you ignored me. I even had people tell me their doctor told them not to come to my pharmacy because I don't accept their prescriptions. Wrong. I don't accept invalid prescriptions from offices that are too stubborn to obey the laws. Seriously, is it really that difficult for a doctor to scrawl a line on the bottom of every prescription that he writes? Usually, the offenders are writing for medications for procedures and the prescriptions are often preprinted for him. It's not as if they are prolific scribes penning the next War and Peace and they risk their hands getting fatigued.

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