S8 warning for proprietor, pharmacists

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A proprietor and his employee pharmacists have been cautioned over failure to properly control dispensing of the Schedule 8 medicine Endone

According to PDL, a notification was made to AHPRA concerning the proprietor of a pharmacy, which had allegedly failed to appropriately control the dispensing of Endone to an employee of an aged care facility.

The notification alleged that pharmacists had dispensed the medication following receipt of medication charts from the facility without a valid prescription.

The request would usually comprise a cover page which detailed the requested medication, and the corresponding drug chart.

In the event that the pharmacy could not locate a current prescription on file, the medication was nevertheless supplied to a staff member of the facility in the interests of ensuring continuity of supply.

However, S8 medications cannot be supplied without a valid prescription or telephone order.

In response, AHPRA proposed to caution the proprietor and impose a condition that he undertake a one-off audit.

Kellie Dell’Oro, Principal at Meridian Lawyers, explained in a PDL alert that even though the proprietor had not personally dispensed the medication, he was responsible for ensuring the pharmacists were lawfully dispensing S8 medications.

The proprietor was also found to be responsible for ensuring the employee pharmacists were carrying out regular and appropriate medication checks at the facility.

Three pharmacists who had actually dispensed the medication, one of whom was a recent graduate, were cautioned by AHPRA and reminded of their dispensing obligations.

“The decision sends a clear message that the Pharmacy Board of Australia expects proprietor pharmacists to ensure that pharmacists under their control are lawfully dispensing medications, and that they are being vigilant to ensure that a supply of a Schedule 8 medication is done so lawfully,” says Ms Dell’Oro in the PDL alert.

“It is also a timely reminder to employee pharmacists that simply following the pharmacy’s established procedures does not excuse unlawful dispensing.

“Every pharmacist has an individual obligation to ensure compliance with the relevant laws, standards and guidelines.”

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