Pharmacists should always check Netcare when assessing the appropriateness of all prescriptions. Checking Netcare can assist pharmacists in determining whether a patient may be presenting a forged prescription, or if a patient may be “double doctoring” and collecting the same prescription from multiple physicians and/or receiving the same prescription from multiple pharmacies.
However, be aware that not all prescriptions show up in Netcare. Nutritional supplements such as Ensure® meal replacement drinks are a good example. Nutritional products do not show up in the Netcare system because they do not have a drug identification number (DIN) but rather a pseudo-product identification number (PIN). Although a nutritional product’s pseudo-PIN allows a pharmacy to submit a claim for the item, pseudo-PINs for these items do not get uploaded to Netcare.
Recently, a pharmacist was contacted by a third-party insurer with a concern about a patient who had a prescription for Ensure® filled at the pharmacy. The insurer noted that the patient had filled multiple prescriptions for Ensure® at several pharmacies in a short period of time. The pharmacist confirmed the prescriptions were not forgeries but were obtained from different physicians.
If you are contacted by a third-party insurer with this type of concern, it is your responsibility to follow up with the prescriber with the new information and then collaborate with any other prescribers and other pharmacies to determine if the prescription should be filled. It is also your responsibility to determine the appropriateness of the treatment and determine whether the prescription should be processed. You may refuse to process the prescription if you determine that it is inappropriate.
For a complete list of health products with a pseudo-PIN, refer to the Alberta Blue Cross Reference Guide for Alberta Pharmacies.