Overwhelming Number of Pharmacists Self-Prescribe: Can They Get in Trouble?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

You may have thought that pharmacists know medicine so well that they probably could prescribe it to themselves. Regardless of their level of expertise, many already do, according to a recent investigation into the self-prescribing of non-controlled substances among pharmacists. Despite their familiarity with such therapeutics, in some states, the practice can quickly land them in front of a disciplinary board threatened with losing their license.

Investigation Finds Self-Prescribing is Common

A first-of-its-kind investigation found that pharmacists are self-prescribing medicine so much it's actually quite common. However, don't think the drugs coming out from the back room are serious. Every state prohibits self-prescribing controlled substances, but a few—Missouri, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming—allow it under extreme circumstances. But that's physicians; controlled substances are out of the question for pharmacists.

Non-controlled substances are a different story. For ailments requiring topical medications, allergy remedies, and other minor management solutions, states normally allow pharmacists to prescribe to patients. The investigation found the following were the most commonly self-prescribed substances:

  • Allergy medications
  • Analgesics
  • Antibiotics
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • NSAIDs

Respondents in the investigation reported familiarity with treatment options as the primary reason for self-prescribing. While doing so with non-controlled substances is typically permitted, each state board has its own guidelines on the medications that may be self-prescribed and provide the proper documentation.

Can Pharmacists Get in Trouble for Self-Prescribing?

A growing number of states and jurisdictions are permitting pharmacists to prescribe a limited number of medications other than those mentioned above. For example, some pharmacists may prescribe the following:

  • Birth control
  • Naloxone
  • Tobacco cessation products
  • Preventative HIV medications
  • Travel-related medications

While 50 states allow pharmacists to prescribe naloxone, only 17 states allow them to prescribe smoking cessation products. Moreover, states like California, Montana, New Mexico, and North Carolina require additional and advanced licenses.

If pharmacists are caught self-prescribing outside of the regulations of their state or employer—even if it's a minor medication—it has the potential to end their career. Allegations of professional misconduct are handled swiftly by licensing boards throughout the nation. It's not uncommon for one to lose their license over self-prescribing something as seemingly innocuous as birth control.

What Should You Do When Allegations of Professional Misconduct Arise?

The revocation of a pharmaceutical license can mean the end of a long career for many and the loss of an income stream. You must take the rules and regulations of your field seriously and know when it's time to seek valuable resources. Just because you're a licensed pharmacist in a state that allows limited self-prescribing doesn't mean you can do so unchecked. There are likely a myriad of rules and regulations regarding additional certifications or official documentation.

With how each state differs from each other on the treatment of self-prescribing pharmacists, you need experienced assistance. Get in touch with a team that has assisted thousands in maintaining their pharmaceutical licenses and good standing with state and jurisdictional boards. Contact the Lento Law Firm online or call 888-535-3686 to maintain your career and reputation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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