Pharmacists have a right (and obligation) to speak up

Pharmacists should remember that the health and well being of patients and the community should be their primary concern when dispensing medicines.

A number of recent incidents brought to our attention have highlighted the fact that many pharmacists are reluctant to contact a prescriber and / or question a prescription. Such incidents resulting in complaints to the Council involve a variety of issues including questionable efficacy of requested compounded products, over dosages and excessive prescribing of Schedules 8 or S4D medicines.

In most cases, prescribers appreciate pharmacist’s advice and are willing to act on it. However, in some situations, a pharmacist may need to decline to dispense a prescribed medicine in consideration of patient safety or optimal therapeutic outcomes.

In these circumstances pharmacists may wish to seek advice on how to manage the situation from the Pharmacists’ Support Service, pharmacist professional organisation or professional indemnity insurer.

Finally, remember the importance of documentation.