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Communicating the expiry of a prescription

November 16, 2016

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded to communicate clearly with individuals when their prescription is approaching becoming outdated. This should be communicated at the time of engaging with individuals about their prescriptions. To be abundantly clear, refill information on the prescription label should be updated and made current, to ensure correctness.

ACP has received concern that pharmacists/pharmacy technicians may be providing incorrect information about prescription refills on prescription labels. This typically occurs for chronic therapies, where refills are authorized for a long period of time. However, standard 6.5(b) requires that pharmacists ensure the “currency” of treatment, and limits authorization for refill to 18 months after the original prescription was first filled. This date may pass, prior to authorized refills being used. When this occurs, individuals should be notified in advance, and the refills recorded on the label changed to zero (0), so that the individual can arrange to consult with the original prescriber for a new prescription. This becomes even more important when individuals have rare conditions, and may be receiving drugs that cannot be adapted or prescribed by a pharmacist.