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Dispensing the authorized quantity of biological prescriptions

March 24, 2015

ACP was recently made aware of a patient who received a prescription for seven doses of filgrastim (Neupogen®) when discharged from a hospital. When the patient filled the prescription at his community pharmacy, he received 10 doses (with instructions to use only the seven doses as prescribed). The pharmacist indicated that due to the high cost and low use of the medicine, only a full manufacturer’s box of 10 doses would be dispensed to the patient. 

The Standards of Practice require that prescriptions be dispensed for the quantity or duration of treatment ordered, unless the pharmacist adapts the prescription in full compliance with Standards 11 and 12 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. Pharmacists must only adapt prescription quantities when it is in the best interest of the patient. Pharmacists must not adapt prescription quantities out of convenience for the pharmacist or perceived economic benefit to the pharmacy.

As stated in the Code of Ethics, pharmacists must: “Hold the well-being of each patient to be my primary consideration.”