New regulation in Florida on controlled substances

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State board adopts rule revision to help pharmacists and their patients

The Florida Board of Pharmacy has adopted a rule revision—on standards of practice for the filling of controlled substance prescriptions, electronic prescribing, and 2 hours of mandatory continuing education—that went into effect December 24, 2015.

The rule revision was prompted by the state board’s feeling—based on testimony from the general public—that perhaps the 2002 rule “was guiding pharmacists towards making a presumption that the prescription is not good,” according to Florida Pharmacy Association Executive Vice President and CEO Michael Jackson, BSPharm, CPh, who served on the board’s controlled substance standards committee. “The board’s philosophy now is: Let’s make a presumption that the prescription was issued for a specific purpose and is valid. And let’s write a rule in such a way to help the pharmacist confirm validity of the prescription rather than to look at a prescription and find reasons not to fill it.”

The rule revision begins with a clear statement: “The Board of Pharmacy recognizes that it is important for the patients of the State of Florida to be able to fill valid prescriptions for controlled substances. In filling these prescriptions, the Board does not expect pharmacists to take any specific action beyond exercising sound professional judgment. Pharmacists should not fear disciplinary action from the Board or other regulatory or enforcement agencies for dispensing controlled substances for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice. Every patient’s situation is unique and prescriptions for controlled substances shall be reviewed with each patient’s unique situation in mind. Pharmacists shall attempt to work with the patient and the prescriber to assist in determining the validity of the prescription.”

Visit www.flrules.org and search on “64B16-27.831” to learn more about the new Florida regulation. 

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