According to the National Institutes of Health, prescription requirements are very stringent. These strict guidelines are in place to prevent misuse of medications, particularly schedule II drugs that have a high potential for abuse and dependency.
It is important for all medical practitioners to understand important laws regarding prescription drugs. Here are a few key points to consider.
Requirements for medical providers and pharmacists
In order to write a legal and valid prescription for a patient, a medical provider must hold a license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Pharmacists must also hold a DEA license, as well as a controlled substance license. Controlled substances receive categories based on their abuse and misuse potential. Schedule I drugs have no medical applications, so they are not prescribed.
Information necessary to disperse a controlled substance
Doctors must convey prescriptions for schedule II drugs on paper or electronically, while doctors can prescribe schedule III through V drugs verbally. The legality of the prescription depends on the information it contains. All prescriptions must include the name and address of the patient, the date of the prescription, information regarding the drug (including name, strength, and dosage), directions, quantity, number of refills, and prescriber signature.
When it comes to quantities and refills, the specific drug schedule matters. Schedule II drug prescriptions cover quantities of 30 days and have no refills. Doctors can provide schedule III through V drugs in a 90-day quantity, with a maximum of five refills.
Pharmacists should contact the prescribing physician directly if there are any questions about the validity of a prescription. Doing so ensures the safety of the patient, while also helping medical staff to avoid any potential violations.