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Pharmacist FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Patient Counseling

Q: Does the Board enforce patient counseling requirements?

A: Yes. Shoppers have visited many communities already and will visit more in the future. In the event that a pharmacy is observed not offering to counsel patients, one or two follow-up shopping visits occur by Board inspectors.

If it is confirmed that offers to counsel are not made and counseling does not occur on a regular basis then the matter will be brought to a pre-hearing conference for a proposed disciplinary action. If the Board member finds that offers to counsel are not being made and patient counseling is not occurring on repeated prescription fillings, then a normal penalty would be a three day active suspension of the pharmacist's license to practice and a one day suspension of the permit to operate the pharmacy where the event occurred. In this way members believe that the public can be better served by promoting compliance with the rule.


Q: Does the phrase "Do you have any questions?" when directed at the patient satisfy the Board's requirement for offering to counsel patients under the patient counseling rule?

A: No. The Board rule requires that an offer be made in a positive way to encourage acceptance. The phrase "Do you have any questions?" is really a question, not an offer. Also, by merely asking if the patient has any questions does not go to the essence of the matter. Most customers do not know what questions to ask. Going through the patient counseling procedure, including prospective drug use review, also results in catching many errors before they reach the citizen.

The members of the Board of Pharmacy have suggested the following potential alternatives to the phrase "Do you have any questions?"

"Our pharmacist will talk to you about this if you'd like."
"Counseling is available from our pharmacist on this prescription."
"Our pharmacist is available to talk to you about your prescription."
"Our pharmacist would like to talk to you about your medicines."

Please note that if a purported "offer" to counsel does not adequately inform the patient of exactly what it is the patient has a right to, then a pharmacist will not likely have a meritorious argument that the patient "waived" any counseling right by signing a log book.


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