Prescription Legibility State Law

Section 456.42 Florida Statutes- Written prescriptions for medicinal drugs. --A written prescription for a medicinal drug issued by a health care practitioner licensed by law to prescribe such drug must be legibly printed or typed so as to be capable of being understood by the pharmacist filling the prescription; must contain the name of the prescribing practitioner, the name and strength of the drug prescribed, the quantity of the drug prescribed in both textual and numerical formats, and the directions for use of the drug; must be dated with the month written out in textual letters; and must be signed by the prescribing practitioner on the day when issued.
Senator Wasserman-Schultz and Representative Vana.
The law was created in the interest of reducing prescriptionerrors and keeping Florida citizens and visitors safe.
The bill was signed into law by Governor Bush on May 23, 2003and became effective on July 1, 2003.
That the prescription be legibly written or typed; that the quantityof the drug must be written in numerical and textual format (e.g. 10 -ten); that the date of the prescription must be written in textual letters (e.g. July 1, 2003); and that the practitioner must sign theprescription on the day it is issued.
No. The law requires that it must be capable of being understoodby the pharmacist.
The law clearly references written prescriptions, not writtenorders. There is a distinct difference between the two. An order relates to administration; a prescription relates to dispensing. Thus, in our interpretation, the law does not apply to written orders.
No. The law applies to a "written prescription for a medicinaldrug issued by a health care practitioner licensed by law to prescribesuch drug..." A pharmacist is not licensed by law to prescribe drugs.
The law does not grant a "grace" period. It went into effect on July 1, 2003. The Department’s focus in the first year will be oneducation, not punishment.
Any information not contained on the preprinted prescription should be hand printed.
The pharmacist will handle the script in the same manner as it was handled prior to July 1, 2003. If the pharmacist would have filled the prescription on June 30, then nothing in the law prevents the pharmacist from filling it on July 1.
There is no reporting requirement in the law, however, arguably, if a prescription written by a health care practitioner does not meet the requirements it could be viewed as a general violation of the law. Again, for the first year the department’s focus will be educational not punishment.
The law does not prohibit filling a prescription that the pharmacist would otherwise have filled prior to July 1,2003. Keep in mind also that pharmacists, as a routine standard of practice, have always verified with a physician a prescription that was unclear or illegible.
Although the law doesn't grant specific rule making authority, theBoard of Pharmacy, at its August meeting, will consider whether or not to draft a rule specifying the standard of practice for pharmacists on how to handle a prescription that does not meet the new requirements.
The pharmacist, as a practice standard, has always had the responsibility of verifying an illegible prescription with the physician.
The purpose of the law is to improve patient safety by reducing errors in prescription medications. The law does not specify how theDepartment shall handle prescription writers who do not comply.The Department will work closely with the licensing boards, health care associations, and other interested groups to implement this law.As with all new laws and programs, we cannot predict what will happen in every situation, however, the Department is now focused on how best to implement the law not on how to discipline health care providers who are doing their best to learn and acclimate to this new prescription format. The Department focus the first year is to educate prescribing practitioners, pharmacists and consumers about the law. The licensing boards have a variety of options available to deal with violations, including a letter of advice that would be sent to non-compliant practitioners. This would be followed by a notice of non-compliance, and if appropriate, a citation. The licensing board shave not yet had the opportunity to address this issue.
The patient should not be inconvenienced by this new requirement. Hopefully, consumers themselves, when presented with a prescription that is illegible will clarify the drug, dosage strength or other component of the prescription with the doctor before taking it to the pharmacy

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