General Question

silky1's avatar

Can a pharmacist also prescribe medications?

Asked by silky1 (1498 points ) July 15th, 2010

I was wondering if my pharmacist could actually give a prescription for any of my medications.

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24 Answers

Dr_Dredd's avatar

No. A prescribing provider needs to be an MD or DO. In some states, a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant can also prescribe, but never a pharmacist.

CMaz's avatar

That would be nice. ;-) But, no.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. But they will give good advice more readily than a doctor’s office.

Brian1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd

What’s a DO?

gailcalled's avatar

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

Here, if one runs out of an RX, drops the pills down the drain, and doc is on vacation or lost at sea, the pharmacist will give you five tabs to tide you over until you can get the prescription legitimately. (Unless you have a reputation for selling drugs in dark alleys.)

I live in NYS and use a doctor in MA. His PA can write me an RX with her signature on it, but the script cannot be sent electronically to the pharmacy due to different state laws. It has to be mailed to me and then hand-carried to drug store.

jazmina88's avatar

No, they can suggest OTC and give you great RX info.

shilolo's avatar

Why would you want a pharmacist to prescribe medication? They don’t know what diseases you have, what the indications are, what you’ve tried before, or the literature regarding the best regimen of medications for specific illnesses. They can’t do a physical examination, or order blood tests to help asses what you need, or to determine if the medication is working and/or has side effects.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Probably she was wondering if they could re-prescribe an existing med…like antibiotics or something.

perspicacious's avatar

How old are you? No, pharmacists may not write prescriptions in the USA.

silky1's avatar

Well it’s rude to ask a lady her age. The reason I was trying to confirm this is because on a few web sites I noticed that in fact in some states pharmacists do actually write and fill prescriptions. This is becoming a trend because some pharmacies even have a mini clinic inside where you can actually be examined.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@silky1 Huh. Do you have a link to one of those websites? Also, how much do you weigh? : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :) : ) :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you. I imagine they could only prescribe within a very limited scope, and for very mild illnesses. First they’d have to have access to the patient’s medical records too.

silky1's avatar

You are quite welcome. By the way what are your thoughts on pharmacists prescribing medications are you for or against it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well….generally speaking I can prescribe for myself. I know when I have an infection and need some antibiotics. I know when I’m developing an eye infection. I sure as hell know when I’m getting a UTI!! I would like to be able to talk to the pharmacist about my symptoms and have him prescribe for me, and save me a Dr visit. He or she might even be able to prescribe blood pressure meds, but they’d have to check you over first.

So, I’m for it in a very limited scope.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Two of the links are from countries other than the U.S. I don’t know where you live, so I don’t know if they are relevant for you. The link to the Florida statutes is interesting, but even in Florida the list of drugs which may be dispensed by a pharmacist is subject to a committee which includes doctors.

Personally, I’m a little leery of a pharmacist prescribing drugs for two reasons: 1) he or she probably won’t be doing a physical exam; and 2) pharmacy education does not include diagnostics. A pharmacist is very good at knowing about medications, side effects, etc., but doesn’t get training in determining the underlying condition for which someone is being prescribed a medication.

gailcalled's avatar

I really like my pharmacist; I saw him recently in traffic court (I was there for speeding). I would trust him for some advice but not for any diagnosis.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@gailcalled Wonder what he was there for…

gailcalled's avatar

(Speeding also, thank goodness. He works at the local and only supermarket, and there is a speed trap along a one mile straightaway. I got caught in the same one.)

shilolo's avatar

I suspect the reason so few pharmacists in Florida do prescribe medications is because they are subject to full malpractice liability. It is risky even in the best case, but when you can’t examine the patient, take a full history, or order lab tests, you are taking a gigantic risk.

To those that think they can “diagnose themselves”, you should keep in mind that many factors go into a medication decision (though it might seem simple). For example, many feel that they can diagnose a UTI (and they can, based on symptoms). But, in many areas, bacterial antibiotic resistance has gone up so much that “standard” medications (like cipro) are no longer effective, and other medications are better. Would you know to use trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin in stead?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@shilolo :) I’d ask Rarebear!

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