Should Pharmacists Be Given Expanded Dispensing Powers?

MAY 10, 2012
Introduction
 
The range of health care providers empowered to prescribe medications includes nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, medical doctors, and DOs. There have also been rumors of pharmacists (considered to be the providers who know the most about medications) who want to get into the prescribing business as well.
 
Unlike some practicing pharmacists, I have never been a big supporter of extending full prescribing powers to pharmacists because I have not seen any plans that would add significant value beyond what other prescribers already provide. As a result, I have wondered about the future of pharmacy. However, a recent FDA discussion on new opportunities for pharmacies and pharmacists may have the potential to breathe new life into the pharmacy profession.
 
Pharmacist Intervention Drugs
 
The FDA recently looked at creating a new category of pharmacist intervention drugs. The agency put out a notice in the Federal Register ( to download a statement from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association expressing this opposition.) Nevertheless, I am glad to hear that there may be hope of expanding the professional role of pharmacists so they get to play a more active role in caring for patients.

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