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Texas pharmacists urged to be careful

The Texas State Board of Pharmacy will be meeting here in Austin in a few days to discuss a wide variety of matters, including disciplinary orders. The Texas board and similar regulatory bodies across the nation are increasingly focused on ways to address an opioid crisis that affects much of the nation.

The Texas State Board makes it clear on its website that part of the responsibility with stemming the tide of opioid abuse lies with the doctors who write prescriptions, but also with the pharmacists who fill them. A pharmacist who knowingly fills invalid prescriptions is not only in danger of losing their state license, but also risk of facing criminal charges.

The board says that a pharmacist who knowingly fills an invalid prescription for opioids “shall be subject to the penalties provided for violations of the provisions of law relating to controlled substances.”

The pharmacist is expected to use “sound professional judgment” in deciding if a prescription for a controlled substance is legitimate. The board notes that the law doesn’t require a pharmacist to fill “doubtful, questionable, or suspicious” prescriptions.

Pharmacists have “a legal obligation to ensure a prescription for a controlled substance is written for a legitimate medical purpose.”

At the same time, pharmacists are urged to work with doctors to ensure that legitimately prescribed medications get into the hands of the people who need them.

There are several scenarios pharmacists are encouraged to be wary of, including the following:

  • A group of people with prescriptions for the same drug in the same quantity.
  • A prescription for a “cocktail” that can include an opioid, a benzodiazepine and a muscle relaxant.
  • Prescriptions with geographical anomalies, such as a great distance between the prescriber and the pharmacy

An attorney experienced in license defense can help pharmacists, nurses, doctors and others protect their licenses, careers and reputations. You can contact our Austin office for more information.