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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default When Can Non-Physicians Write Drug Prescriptions

    My question involves public health law in the State of: Illinois

    Not sure if this is the right forum for this post. If it's not, I apologize.

    I am a licensed MRI technologist. My employer has instructed me to begin writing prescriptions for Valium for claustrophobic patients and to use a rubber stamp to stamp the physician's name on the script. She said that the physician gave all the employees permission to do so. These employees also include general receptionists.

    As I am not a licensed physician, PA or nurse, and I am not familiar with drug interactions, contraindications, etc., I am not willing to risk patient safety OR the potential for losing my license.

    I contacted the president from my licensing registry. His reply was, "I have not heard of anything in the Scope of Work or Job Description of any technologist, of any type, being licensed to write prescriptions for any drug." "I would advise not to." "Consult your State Department of Health and/or Legal Counsel."

    I am hoping that you can give me a definitive answer regarding the legality of the above.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    9,914

    Default Re: Employees (Non-Physicians) Writing Drug Prescriptions

    Even nurses with prescription authority in Illinois are required to get specific training. I agree with your licensing authority, there appears to be nothing that allows techs to prescribe nor is there anything in the works (like their are for psychologists, etc..) to introduce such authorization. Furthermore, prescribing rights are not "rubber stamping" some authorized prescriber names to the prescription. I'd contact the DEA.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Employees (Non-Physicians) Writing Drug Prescriptions

    Non only do non-MD providers have to get training and obtain/maintain certification for prescriptive privileges, but they also must work within a particular formulary according to their profession (for example, a PA may be able to write scripts for things that a CRNA can't, and vice-versa). Non of the 50 states have a formulary for MRI techs, so this should send a strong message. However, in this situation, it sounds like you're not being asked to evaluate and treat via prescription, but rather that the physician is ordering that under his authority, a specific drug be given to patients suffering from a specific issue (claustrophobia). This is vastly different that the physician giving others unadulterated ability to write scripts for anyone for anything at any time on their own or as they see fit. However, given the absolutely valid concern about drug interactions and potential dosing issues, combined with the medical ethics of authorizing drugs without proper examination of the patient (to include being aware of parient history that may be relevent to the administration of Valium), I'd stay as far away from doing this as possible. Start by contacting your state's Board of Health - they'll be in the best position to explain any state-specific statutory allowances, exceptions, or restrictions regarding this type of "give all patients under my care THIS drug under THIS circumstace" order.
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Employees (Non-Physicians) Writing Drug Prescriptions

    Illegal request. Writing prescriptions would be a criminal offense under the circumtances described under federal law if not state law. Valium is a controlled substance. One needs a DEA license number to prescribe any controlled substance.

    When he gets busted for running a pill mill (Florida has been sending doctors in PRISON, left and right lately), guess who he is going to point the finger at. Valium with a RUBBER STAMP. Are your bosses stupid and incompetent?

    I can see how it would benefit them, to improve turn around on MRI's but you'd be a fool to write a prescription to help them out when you are putting yourself at risk. Wear gloves, fingerprints can be taken off paper and never let ANYONE see you fill it out. Seriously, I am not kinding. Exactly how is anyone going to explain CONTROL of rubber stamps to federal agents.

    I would have serious trouble believing the doctor knows anything about this, or perhaps he does not want to be a doctor very much longer. Career ending move for everyone involved. Nothing like this is going to stay secret and the first person who needs a deal on some little offense is going to sing like a bird.

    Ask your boss to put this in writing and have your legal department sign off on it before a notary. Then lock it in a bank vault and make sure your attorney has access to it after you get indicted by a federal grand jury.

    So, if the prescription is for too much or to little, and there are side effects, who gets sued. That agreement better include a hold harmless clause that the institution pays for all your legal expenses and continues to pay you while you sit in jail. Of course, they aren't going to pay you extra to place your entire future at risk are they?

    YOUR FORTUNE COOKIE: You all get arrested and your employer is shut down by the feds and state and goes into receivership.

    That is your future.

    CONSULT AN ATTORNEY who understands state and federal drug laws IMMEDIATELY. If it is legal (ha ha), then pay the attorney to write an opiniion letter saying so. Then the feds won't be able to prove intent for a criminal charge, not that they won't come up with offenses that don't need the proof of intent.

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