Patient counseling laws

by Liz

Patient counseling laws in Canada are different

Patient counseling laws in Canada are different

Can I ask a question about American pharmacy procedure? I am here on vacation (in California) from Canada. I had to get an Rx for ventolin and phenergan with codeine. I waited 1/2 hr. for the prescription and when the pharmacist handed it to me, she gave me zero counseling, even though I have not used either med before. She told me to read the info. Is this typical...?

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Patient counseling laws

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Apr 08, 2011
It depends
by: Ron

Did you ask for counseling? Were you asked if you had questions or concerns? Are you a Medicaid patient? US pharmacists are required to offer counseling to Medicaid patients (1990 Omibus Budget and Reconciliation Act). Some states in the US require that ALL patients be offered counseling.

Apr 08, 2011
by: Liz

Thanks Ron, I'm from Canada so I was paying cash. When the pharmacist handed me the prescription bag I specifically told her they were new meds for me and all she said was read the info. I'm curious what the procedures are. Where I work in Alberta, when a patient receives a new med they are always given usage and dosing info by the pharmacist. I've never used an inhaler before and had the doctor I saw hadn't given me instructions. I would've had no idea of the proper method.

Apr 08, 2011
Pharmacist Counseling in Ohio
by: GrannyGarbonzo

I'm in Ohio where the laws may be quite different from California, but here every patient is asked if they have any questions about the medications they are receiving. All are offered counseling every time, though most decline.

Whether it's legally required or not, every pharmacist should want to make sure that each patient understands how to correctly use his medication. Improperly used, medication is pointless at best and quite possibly dangerous.

If a pharmacist fails to offer his expertise and exercise due diligence in caring for his patients, he is little more than a short-order cook with an expensive menu. By the same token, every individual should take personal responsibility for making sure they understand their medications and how to properly use them, asking questions of the doctor or pharmacist if they are unsure in any way.

Apr 09, 2011
California Pharmacy Laws
by: Anonymous

As far as I know, California Board of Pharmacy requires that all patients receiving a new prescription should receive counseling.
Some pharmacies have been sited due to failure to offer counseling. In addition, pharmacy technicians cannot ask a patient if they need to speak to a pharmacist, do you have any questions about your medication, have you had this before, because this is considered by the State Board to be out of the scope of practice of a pharmacy tech.
In order to help pharmacists comply with this regulation, pharmacy technicians in California should say: "Since this is a new prescription, the pharmacist needs to go over it with you."
If the patient declines, then it is up to the patient. There are times in which counseling should be given, and if the patient refuses, they need to speak to the pharmacist.
In short, the pharmacist should have given counseling.

May 07, 2011
counseling in Idaho
by: shona

The first day of my new job there was a new regulation handed down from the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy, every patient leaflet that said 'new med' needed counseling. In the interest of keeping work flow and following the new rules we were instructed to ask if the patient had ever taken the medication before, if they had not we were then instructed we could go no further with our query and the Pharmacist was called for a consult. When it gets busy this can be a pain, but it is a good habit to get into and in the best interest of our patients. It has now become habit and not a problem at all.

Oct 11, 2011
All new prescription requires couseling
by: Leon

In US, all prescriptions require counseling. Obra'90 originated mandated that only medicare patients are required, but it was later changed to be a requirement for all patients, on the basis of providing same level of care for all patients.

It is illegal for pharmacists to dispense medication without oral counseling or using only written materials, unless communication barriers are present or patients voluntarily refuse counseling.

Unfortunately, many pharmacists in Texas, particularly in chain stores such as CVS and Walgreens, often neglect such duties. Having the technicians ask "do you have any question for the pharmacist?" is also not sufficient to satisfy the counseling requirement.

Pharmacists can be reported for neglecting counseling and get fined (which they do, as seen on the tsbp monthly letter with their names printed).

Relevant documents can be found on

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