Reminder: Pharmacists must not prescribe narcotics, controlled drugs, or targeted substances

October 2, 2019

Pharmacists must also abide by the rules of TPP Alberta.

Pharmacists are reminded that, as per Standard 11.7 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, they must not prescribe any medications listed in the schedules to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and its regulations including the Narcotic Control Regulations and the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations (BOTSR). Further, pharmacists must not prescribe any of the controlled drugs listed in schedule G to the Food and Drug Act.

ACP has been notified by TPP Alberta that approximately 74 pharmacists have recently prescribed zolpidem which is listed as a class 1 targeted substance in the BOTSR.

Please carefully review these schedules to ensure that you are familiar with all drugs listed to avoid inadvertently prescribing a narcotic, controlled drug, or targeted substance. If you find that you have recently prescribed zolpidem or another narcotic, controlled drug, or targeted substance, ACP requires that you take steps to ensure this does not occur again.

TPP monitors selected prescription medications, including many drugs listed in the schedules to the legislation mentioned above. TPP is administered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and more information can be found on the TPP section of the CPSA website.  

Type 1 TPP medications require the use of a two-part form to be completed  by the prescriber. Pharmacists are reminded that, as per the TPP Guide, any medication listed as a type 1 TPP drug must be written on the TPP form or it is not considered a valid prescription and pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill in these cases. 

In exceptional circumstances, a regular prescription may be used as a temporary measure if the pharmacist is satisfied of the legitimacy of the prescription, arrangements are made to obtain the appropriate form as soon as reasonably possible, and the details are documented on the original prescription. It is not acceptable to have an arrangement with a prescriber where delayed submission of the TPP form is routine practice.

In addition, pharmacists must be aware of and comply with all federal requirements for the medications prescribed; accepting a verbal prescription for a narcotic drug would not be appropriate, even temporarily.  Out-of-province prescriptions for TPP medications are acceptable as long as they meet federal requirements and adhere to the rules of the province of origin.

Also, please be aware that advancing or lending prescription medications to patients is never an acceptable practice under any circumstances.

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