Pharmacists have corresponding responsibility with prescriber to prevent drug diversion

Below is excerpt from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Pharmacy Manual, SECTION IX – VALID PRESCRIPTION REQUIREMENT, of importance to pharmacists.

Pharmacists need to know they have a corresponding responsibility with the prescriber when filling a prescription.  An order purporting to be a prescription issued not in the usual course of professional treatment or in legitimate and authorized research is an invalid prescription within the meaning and intent of the CSA (21 U.S.C. 829).

The person knowingly filling such a purported prescription, as well as the person issuing it, shall be subject to the penalties provided for violations of the  provisions of law relating to controlled substances.

A pharmacist is required to exercise sound professional judgement when making a determination about the legitimacy of a controlled substance prescription.  Such a determination is made before the prescription is dispensed.

The law does not require a pharmacists to dispense a prescription of doubtful, questionable, or suspicious origin.  To the contrary, the pharmacist who deliberately ignores a questionable prescription when there is reason to believe it was not issued for a legitimate medical purpose may be prosecuted along with the issuing practitioner, for knowingly and intentionally distributing controlled substances.

Such action is a felony offense, which may result in the loss of one’s business or professional license.