If you were to survey all adults in Texas, you would likely have a difficult time finding someone who has not, at some point in life, taken medication recommended to him or her by a doctor. If you are a licensed physician, you no doubt write prescriptions often, in conjunction with treating medical conditions. As a health care provider or a private citizen, legal problems can arise if you’re accused of prescription drug crimes.
You have to have a license to write prescriptions for drugs in Texas, although you don’t necessarily have to be a medical doctor. You might be a dentist, veterinarian or therapeutic optometrist. If you’re working under supervision of a physician as a physician’s assistant or advanced practice nurse, you might obtain clearance to write prescriptions in certain circumstances.
If you are a pharmacist, you must meet requirements before dispensing drugs
As part of the health care industry, you might work in the pharmaceutical field of prescription drugs, meaning that you fill prescriptions that licensed practitioners send to your pharmacy. It is also possible to face charges for prescription drug crimes as a pharmacist. The following list shows requirements you must meet before distributing a prescription drug:
- Reviewing a patient’s medical records
- Confirming information, such as date of birth, age, gender
- Inquiring whether the patient is taking any other drugs or natural remedies
- Determining whether the patient suffers from a chronic condition
Obtaining such information is helpful to avoid contradictions, which occur when a prescription drug interacts with another drug, herb or condition in an adverse way. As a pharmacist, you can refuse to fill a prescription for numerous reasons, including concern that a specific drug will have a bad interaction with another drug a patient is taking.
Issues that may lead to charges for prescription drug crimes
If you’re a pharmacist, you cannot legally fill a prescription if a person hands you a photocopy of a prescription. You can use the information on the copy to contact the person who wrote the original prescription and request a new one, but filling a prescription from a copy is against the law.
As an individual, if you take drugs prescribed for another person, you are committing a crime. If you are a doctor, it is unlawful to write a prescription for a drug, if you know that the person who will be taking the drug does not really need it. These and other issues may lead to criminal charges against you for prescription drug crimes, in which case you would then be granted an opportunity to refute the charges in court.