A medical prescription is a document that indicates the name, dose of a medicine, and sometimes the way it is prepared. It is prescribed by a doctor, in emergency cases – by a paramedic or midwife. Prescriptions are written on different forms depending on the type of drug.
A medical prescription is needed to buy and take medicines correctly.
Prescriptions are required for:
- drugs with narcotic and psychotropic effects;
- drugs with a psychotropic action, anabolic steroids and drugs subject to quantitative accounting, drugs that are manufactured in a pharmacy and contain psychotropic or narcotic substances, some other drugs;
- other prescription drugs. This form is often cited as a sample prescription for antibiotics, but it actually works for a wide variety of medications.
Sometimes Latin abbreviations are found in prescriptions.
10 most popular prescription drugs for 2020
- Vicodin, Norco, Xodol (hydrocodone, acetaminophen);
- Delasone, Sterapred (prednisone);
- Amoxil (amoxicillin);
- Prinivil, Zestril (lisinopril);
- Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid (levothyroxine);
- Lipitor (atorvastatin);
- Glucophage (metformin);
- Neurontin (gabapentin).
How do you know if you need a prescription to buy “your” drug?
It’s very easy to do this in 2020. Find an annotation on the selected medication on the Web and read the item “Conditions of dispensing”. If the drug is dispensed with a prescription, then you still have to visit the hospital or clinic before going to the pharmacy.
Pharmacists have no right to hide information about the availability of cheap drugs from pharmacy customers. If this happens, the pharmacy will be fined. Self-service pharmacies may also be fined for putting prescription drugs on the shelf.
What does a doctor’s prescription look like?
What a prescription looks like depends on what kind of medicine it is prescribed for. In any case, it must indicate:
- medicine, full name, personal signature and seal of the person who issued the prescription;
- stamp of the medical organization in which the document was issued;
- date and expiry date of the prescription;
- international non-proprietary or group name of the drug;
- name, dosage form, dosage, the composition of the medicine in Latin;
- scheme and method of application in your country;
- a note about the execution time of the prescription;
- in some forms – data of the compulsory health insurance policy, medical card number.
If the dosage of a drug that is available in the pharmacy is lower than that indicated in the prescription, the pharmacist can sell it taking into account the recalculation for the required dose. If only the pharmacy has a drug with a dosage higher than prescribed, the pharmacist cannot sell the drug under this prescription. The pharmacist must send the client for a new document.
Validity of prescriptions
Even if you are a chronic patient with experience and a long medical record, you will not be able to get several prescriptions in advance. Va-lidity of prescriptions can be various:
- valid for 10 days;
- valid for 1 month;
- valid for 2 months. But if the doctor makes a note that the patient has a chronic disease, the document can be extended for up to 1 year.
You cannot make corrections in the prescription, even certifying them with the doctor’s seal.
After the purchase of the drug, a medical prescription:
- remains in the pharmacy if it has received medications subject to registration (psychotropic drugs, drugs);
- sealed “Medicine dispensed” and returned to the client;
- if the document is written out for a long time (up to a year) and medicines are received in parts, the pharmacist indicates how much medicine was received, puts a stamp and returns the prescription to the client. If the document is needed for reporting, the pharmacist can attach a copy to the documents.
Dispensing a one-year supply of medicine at a time must be coordinated with the person who issued the prescription. In cases when the validity of the document has expired and all portions of the medicine have not been received, it is no longer possible to get them – you will have to go to the doctor again.
When receiving medicines for free or at a discount, the pharma-cist returns the completed prescription spine to the client.
Why are drug prescriptions needed at all?
It is necessary to demand from the doctor a medical prescription and not a piece of paper with the names of drugs, because:
- the doctor may be wrong. We are all human beings, and doctors can make mistakes in the same way as engineers, accountants and cashiers. Therefore, if the treatment prescribed by the doctor only worsens your condition, you can demand compensation for the harm caused to your health. Prescription and medical record are the main evidence of the doctor’s mistake;
- the pharmacist can be wrong. Doctors’ handwriting can hardly be called calligraphic. The prescription indicates the international name of the drug and the dosage, so it will be easier for the pharmaceutical manufacturer to figure out what exactly the client needs, and not to confuse anything. There is also a psychological factor – since the prescription is a reporting document, doctors fill it out more legibly and more attentive-ly than ordinary paper from notebooks;
- the patient may be wrong. When something hurts, it is difficult to be collected and memorize information correctly. That is why one of the columns of the document is devoted to the drug use scheme. This will help to correctly fulfill the doctor’s prescription and not to confuse anything.
Of course, finding time for a visit to the doctor, standing in a queue, getting tested and undergoing examinations is much more difficult than ordering a pharmacist a pill “for the head, stomach, cough,” etc. But when it comes to health, all decisions must be professional and reasonable, otherwise, the wrong treatment will harm no less than the disease itself.
How do I get a prescription for a medicine?
The only correct answer from the point of view of legislation to the question: “Where can I get a prescription for a medicine?” is to visit a doctor. This can be a family doctor, a specialist, an inpatient doctor, paramedic, or another authorized health worker. According to the updated rules for dispensing drugs from pharmacy chains, about 80% of drugs will now be dispensed by prescription. The list of over-the-counter drugs also includes antibiotics that are so popular among consumers. Now self-medication will be much more difficult.
In general, everything looks great. However, what to do if the disease was caught by surprise – on Friday evening or on weekends, or the queue for the doctor is full for a week in advance, and you need to be treated today? There are several more or less legal ways to quickly get a prescription for the right drugs.
Where to get a prescription for a medicine in a difficult situation?
- Go to a paid hospital. This is completely legal and correct but not the cheapest and easiest way. As a rule, there are no queues for a paid doctor’s appointment. However, taking time off from work or looking for someone to leave the child with in order to get the required document from the doctor will still be not easy;
- Order a prescription online. In large cities, there are a number of organizations that offer to buy prescriptions for medicines online without leaving your home. Users are invited to fill in the fields of the forms or in some other way provide the organizers with the information they need to extract the document. The organizers claim that this service is provided confidentially and no one will be hurt by it. Of course, the customer must be sure that the given medicine is suitable.
From time to time, journalists and bloggers check to see if prescription drugs can be bought over the counter. In most cases, they succeed without problems. Pharmasters explain their violations of the law requirements by the fact that they go to meet sick people or that they are forced to “make cash”. At the same time, the institution can get large fines for selling medicines without the appropriate documents or be closed for 3 months.
What if the doctor was wrong?
What should a patient do if it turns out at the pharmacy that the prescription for medicines does not correspond to the sample, in other words, it is filled out incorrectly? Experts’ opinions on this matter are different:
- some believe that the pharmacist does not have the right to control the correctness of filling out the prescriptions, and if the doctor entered a code incorrectly, made a spelling or some other insignificant mistake, the medicine should still be issued;
- others argue that a pharmacy may refuse to dispense medications based on irregular documents, even if the violation can be considered insignificant.
At the same time, most of them advise first to try to go to another pharmacy with the “wrong” prescription, and if they refuse there, only then go back to the doctor.
The pharmacist seals the incorrect prescription with the stamp “Prescription is not valid” and gives it back to the client. Such documents can be recorded in a special log, and information about the event is transmitted to the management of the medical institution whose employee wrote out the wrong prescription.
Deadlines for completing prescriptions
At first glance, this seems unexpected, but any pharmacy may not serve a prescription immediately but within a certain time frame. So, if the drug necessary for the client was not available, the institution may be given:
- business day;
- working days;
- working days – if the medicine is included in the minimum range of medicines for medical use that are needed to provide medical care;
- working days – if the medicine is not included in this minimum assortment or is dispensed free of charge or at a discount;
- working days – if the drug is prescribed by the decision of the medical commission.
Pharmacies are prohibited from selling or dispensing expired prescription drugs. An exception is if the document has expired after it was accepted for deferred service.
Going to the doctor, do not forget to demand a prescription filled in accordance with all the rules. Then getting exactly what the doctor ordered from the pharmacist will be much faster and easier.