Prescription drugs are beneficial to many people who rely on them to treat minor and serious illnesses. Although these drugs are helpful in most instances, there are several types that are commonly abused. To prevent serious health effects caused by the misuse or abuse of drugs, prescription medications are regulated by a combination of state and federal laws. Here are the main types of laws that are designed to regulate how certain medications are prescribed and dispensed to the public.
Physical Exam Laws
In most states, there are laws that require a physician to perform a physical exam on their patient or to obtain their patient’s medical history report before prescribing medications. This is to avoid over-prescribing controlled substances to individuals that may not truly need them for medical purposes. In some states, this law also defines what constitutes a patient-physician relationship to further clarify the circumstances where a medication may be prescribed.
Prescription Drug Limit Laws
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 35 states have enacted laws pertaining to how controlled substances may be prescribed and dispensed. These laws include limits on how long a person may wait to have their prescription filled by a pharmacist before it expires. They also regulate the number of dosages that may be supplied in a single prescription. There are also limits on when health benefit plans will cover refills on certain prescriptions.
Prescription fraud is a fairly common practice that can lead to misuse of controlled substances. To avoid fraud, some states have also implemented laws that require a person to display the proper identification before a prescription is dispensed by the pharmacy. Then, an identification number is assigned to the individual and reported to the appropriate state agency to keep track of who is receiving prescribed medications.
Prescription drug laws are designed to safeguard the health of individuals and communities at the local and federal level. Although the majority of controlled substances that are prescribed are used for the appropriate purpose, it is still common for them to be abused. By limiting how many prescriptions can be filled and keeping track of those receiving controlled substances through prescriptions, misuse can be prevented so that those who rely on these medications can benefit without concern of abuse.
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