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Study: Ohio pharmacies fail to ask patients key questions, exposing them to potential harm

Posted at 5:21 PM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 21:39:14-05

AKRON — A study of pharmacy practices across Ohio reveals pharmacies are failing to ask patients key questions when they pick up their prescriptions, exposing them to potential harm.

The survey of 627 adult residents found pharmacists are "not complying with the offer to obtain patient-specific information required by federal and state law."

A University of Akron research team was commissioned by Ohio pharmacist Ray Carlson to create and distribute the survey that examines whether Ohio pharmacists are complying with the law. Last summer, Carlson sued the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to compel it to ensure the law was being followed, but the lawsuit was later dismissed.

"The study shows that in almost 80 percent of the time, these questions are not being asked," said Carlson, who blamed an ever-increasing workload and too few pharmacists. "It would be very difficult for any of my colleagues to comply with the rules if the models set up today are only allowing you less than 60 seconds to fill a prescription."

In January, a News 5 On Your Side investigation uncovered how, with the ongoing struggle to fill an increasing number of prescriptions, Ohio pharmacies can make deadly mistakes while keeping the public in the dark.

According to Carlson's study, 70 percent of those who were surveyed said they do not typically spend any time speaking with their pharmacists.

Among other questions, when asked how often the pharmacist discusses the following:

  • Name and description of medication: 50.8 percent said never
  • Dosage: 53.3 percent said never
  • Side effects/drug interactions: 61.3 percent said never

You can read the full study below.

With the study, Carlson is hoping to raise public awareness of what consumers are entitled to in the pharmacy.

According to both federal OBRA-90 and Ohio Revised Code 4729, pharmacists "must offer the service of medication counseling" to those picking up prescription medicines.

Among the questions required to be asked:

  • Full name of the patient for whom the drug is intended
  • Residential address and telephone number of the patient
  • Patient’s date of birth
  • Patient’s gender
  • Known drug related allergies
  • Previous drug reactions
  • History of our active chronic conditions or disease states
  • Other drugs and nutritional supplements including OTC drugs used on a routine basis
  • Use of medical devices

The following should also be discussed:

  • The name and description of the medication
  • The dosage form, dosage, route of administration, and duration of the drug therapy
  • Any special directions and precautions for preparation, administration and use of the drug
  • Common severe or adverse side effects and/or drug interactions
  • Techniques for self-monitoring drug therapy
  • Proper storage
  • Refill information
  • Action to be taken if I miss a dose
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