FDA sheds light on some issues about prescription

FDA sheds light on some issues about prescription

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 11:47 PM April 23, 2024


MANILA, Philippines — A video has been circulating on social media where a customer was denied the purchase of an anti-hypertensive medicine due to the absence of a doctor’s prescription.

In the now-deleted original video, a pharmacist in a drug store in Cebu City declined to sell the medicine labeled with an “Rx” to the customer who could not present the required paper.


READ: Senior citizens need not show prescription for OTC drugs


But why is a doctor’s prescription necessary for certain medications, and which ones can be bought without it?

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Samuel Zacate explained the rationale behind the requirement for prescriptions for certain medications.

“The medicines with prescriptions have therapeutic indications, meaning they are made for a specific illness,” he explained over a phone interview. “If you give those medicines without an indication to a patient, it will do more harm than good,” he added.

He also commended the pharmacist in the viral video for adhering to the regulations by refusing to sell the medication without a prescription.

“In the viral video I watched, I see that our pharmacist is correct. So he is right in saying that you cannot dispense a medication which is a prescription medication,” he said.

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What are prescription medicines?

Zacate pointed out that medications used for conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and infections typically require a prescription, as opposed to health supplements, vitamins, and minerals, which do not.

But he noted that there are a lot more medications that need prescriptions than the ones mentioned above.

In terms of consequences for pharmacists dispensing drugs without proper prescriptions, Zacate warned that such actions could result in the revocation of their licenses and the cancellation of the store’s operating permit.

What’s in a doctor’s prescription?

On a slightly different note, Zacate reminded the public that a drug prescription should include the following details:

  • Name, address, and age of patient
  • Date when the prescription is given
  • Generic name of the prescribed medicine
  • Dosage
  • Common side effect/s
  • Name of the doctor and his or her professional tax receipt

He noted that the branded name of the drug may also be listed, so long as it is indicated after or below its generic name.

“The pharmacy also has an obligation to return the prescription to the patient so his or her doctor could correct any deficiencies or errors noted in the prescription,” Zacate added.

As for the validity, Zacate said that some electronic prescriptions usually remain valid for one week, while some paper prescriptions are typically valid for two weeks.

Reuse a prescription?

Zacate pointed out that one of the reasons why prescriptions cannot be reused over and over and for a long time is due to safety reasons.

“We can’t keep an unused prescription and use it later. Sometimes a patient will not use the prescription until five months, four months later,” he said.

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According to Zacate, pharmacists cannot accept prescriptions issued a long time ago because the dosage, duration of medication, and other details may have changed and the doctor will need to do some adjustments.

TAGS: FDA, medical prescription, Samuel Zacate

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