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Family Doctor Say OTC Prescription Requirement Adds To Workload

09/19/11

  04:27:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 343 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Health Plan Management

Family Doctor Say OTC Prescription Requirement Adds To Workload

Edward Pullen, MD is a family doctor with a busy practice. In January, the federal government made a change to federal spending accounts that made Dr. Pullen and other primary care physicians even busier: requiring a prescription for patients to buy over-the-counter drugs with their FSA funds. And to put it mildly, Dr. Pullen is none too pleased with the extra workload.

On KevinMD.com, Dr. Pullen outlines the various issues he has with the FSA-OTC law. While understanding the tax-generating rationale behind it, he believes the unintended consequences outweigh any monetary gains:

“This is one more task added to the primary care physicians to do list after patients are seen to accomplish before we can go home. It takes at least 30 seconds to open a patient’s chart, write a prescription, and get the Rx to a patient’s pharmacy or to leave at the front desk for them to pick up. Patients often ask for prescriptions for multiple items, some requiring more time than just writing a prescription.

“These requests use up minutes in a patient visit that can be better used for other care. Do I want to spend my time gathering enough information to help a patient adjust their insulin and eating to control their blood sugar, or writing prescriptions for their corn pads, aspirin, body lotion and anti-perspirant.

“Once a physician writes a prescription they incur some liability for the product used. Let’s say a patient uses a product that they ask me to prescribe. If they then have a problem in any way related to that product you can bet my name will be added to the list of defendants in the product liability lawsuit.

“I really don’t know about much about many of the OTC products patients use. Some of the herbal and supplement products used have labeling that is nearly indecipherable, and certainly nothing I would ever recommend. Should I now be writing a prescription for these as a money saving service to patients? I think I’ll say no to these requests.”

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