Pharmacists are under increasing pressure to take extraordinary steps to verify prescriptions for controlled substances, especially in light of the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) has asserted that pharmacists are the gatekeepers or the “last line of defense” in the fight against prescription
drug abuse. Alan G. Santos, DEA, Combatting Pharmaceutical Diversion: Targeting “Rogue Pain Clinics” & “Pill Mills,” Prescription Drug Awareness Conference, May 4-5, 2013, unnumbered slides. However, if the American Medical Association (“AMA”) adopts either of two committee resolutions at its 2013 meeting, pharmacists who serve that gatekeeper role should not expect cooperation from prescribing physicians. One AMA delegation has introduced a resolution to the Organized Medical Staff Section that would characterize routine pharmacist inquiries “for verification of the rationale behind prescriptions, including diagnosis, treatment plan, ICD-9 codes and/or previous medications/therapies that were tried/failed, and for routine pharmacist calls for such verification of this rationale, to be an inappropriate interference with the practice of medicine and unwarranted.” AMA Organized Medical Staff Section Resolution 12 (A-13), AMA Response to Drug Store Chain Intrusion into Medical Practice, received May 15, 2013.
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