Prescription Drug Labels (9-29-2014)

October 7, 2014

In response to numerous inquiries about the proper labeling of prescriptions drugs, the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy has examined the issue in light of state law.  O.C.G.A. Section 26-4-80(k) expressly provides:

All out-patient prescription drug orders which are dispensed shall be appropriately labeled in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the board as follows:


   (1) Before an out-patient prescription drug is released from the dispensing area, the prescription drug shall bear a label containing the name and address of the pharmacy, a prescription number, the name of the prescriber, the name of the patient, directions for taking the medication, the date of the filling or refilling of the prescription, the initials or identifying code of the dispensing pharmacist, and any other information which is necessary, required, or, in the pharmacist's professional judgment, appropriate; and

   (2) The pharmacist who fills an out-patient prescription drug order shall indicate the identity of the dispensing pharmacist on the label of the prescription drug. Identification may be made by placing initials on the label of the dispensed drug. The label shall be affixed to the outside of the container of the dispensed drug by means of adhesive or tape or any other means which will assure that the label remains attached to the container.

Board Rule 480-27-.05 is consistent with this rule in regards to recordkeeping.

However, it appears that O.C.G.A. Section 16-13-73 currently requires that whenever a pharmacist dispenses a dangerous drug, the pharmacist shall place a label upon each container that has the name of the “physician” prescribing the drug.  Since persons other than physicians are authorized to prescribe dangerous drugs under Georgia law, see, e.g., O.C.G.A. Section 16-13-78.1 and 16-13-70.1, the Board plans to ask the General Assembly to pass legislation during the 2015 Session to make Code section 16-13-72 consistent with the other statutory provisions and to eliminate any confusion in this area.

Until such time as the law can be changed, the Board will consider compliance with O.C.G.A. Section 26-4-80(k) and its rules regarding labeling to be compliance with the laws and rules for purposes of any disciplinary action.  That means that pharmacists may use the name of the prescribing or ordering practitioner on the label. A practitioner is a physician, dentist, podiatrist, physician’s assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, or other person licensed, registered, or otherwise authorized under the laws of this state to prescribe or order dangerous drugs or controlled substances.

 

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