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Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Prescribers Treating Family Members

Q: Can Physicians prescribe drugs for themselves or their families?

A: Board staff regularly receives questions concerning prescribers who write prescriptions for their family members. The following material is presented by the North Carolina Medical Board and is presented for your practice guidance:

"It is the position of the North Carolina Medical Board that, except for minor illnesses and emergencies, physicians should not treat, medically or surgically, or prescribe for themselves, their family members, or others with whom they have significant emotional relationships. The Board strongly believes that such treatment and prescribing practices are inappropriate and may result in less than optimal care being provided. A variety of factors, including personal feelings and attitudes that will inevitably color judgment, will compromise the objectivity of the physician and make the delivery of sound medical care problematic in such situations, while real patient autonomy and informed consent may be sacrificed.

When a minor illness or emergency requires self-treatment or treatment of a family member or other person with whom the physician has a significant emotional relationship, the physician must prepare and keep a proper written record of that treatment, including but not limited to prescriptions written and the medical indications for them. Record keeping is too frequently neglected when physicians manage such cases.

The Board expects physicians to delegate the medical and surgical care of themselves, their families, and those with whom they have significant emotional relationships to one or more of their colleagues in order to ensure appropriate and objective care is provided and to avoid misunderstandings related to their prescribing practices."


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