Who can prescribe medicines?
The question of the title seems simple enough to answer. Who can prescribe medicines? Well, the doctor. However, in this topic we will see how the answer is not so simple.
The act of prescribing
The prescription hope is an act that goes far beyond the mere fact of filling a prescription. Prescribing is the act of deciding on everything that concerns a specific pharmacological treatment, including all pharmacotherapy, its posology, its form of administration, etc.
Prescription is an individualized and dynamic clinical process, that is, it takes into account the specific characteristics of each patient and the specific moment in which it is being carried out. After assessing the patient’s clinical situation, the prescriber indicates a therapeutic treatment that, in addition to being effective and safe, should be appropriate for the patient and his or her illness.
In the prescription of the treatment, in addition to the patient’s data, it should reflect:
- Therapeutic interval (frequency of administration)
- Pharmaceutical form (solution, capsule, tablet, cream, …)
- Route of administration (oral, topical, intravenous, …)
In addition to the observations you see in terms of information, instructions and warnings for both the pharmacist who dispenses or, if applicable, the nurse who administers it, as well as for the patient or his caregivers.
What is the medical prescription?
It is a sanitary, standardized and compulsory document by which physicians, dentists or podiatrists , legally authorized to do so, and within the scope of their respective competences, prescribe to patients the medicines or medical devices subject to medical prescription, for their dispensing by a pharmacist or under his supervision, in the pharmacy offices and first aid units dependent on them or, in accordance with the provisions of current legislation, in other health establishments, healthcare units or pharmaceutical services of primary care structures, duly authorized for the dispensing of medicines.
It must be published in the official language of the State or in the respective co-official languages in the autonomous communities that have them.
They must contain the basic identification data of:
Do all medications require a prescription?
Law 29/2006 establishes the basic requirements to qualify a medicine subject to medical prescription. They will be those that meet any of the following characteristics:
- They can present a danger, directly or indirectly, even under normal conditions of use, if used without medical supervision.
- They are used frequently, and in a very considerable way, under abnormal conditions of use, and this may involve, directly or indirectly, a danger to health.
- Contain substances or preparations based on these substances, whose activity and / or adverse reactions need to be studied in more detail.
- They are administered parenterally, except in exceptional cases, by medical prescription.
They can be easily identified because they have a black circle with a white background in the upper right area of the container. In practice, almost all medications require a medical prescription to be dispensed by a pharmacist. In fact, contrary to what usually seems, many of the medicines that are usually purchased for the home medicine cabinet, such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, omeprazole, etc., require medical prescription (in most of their presentations).
There are other types of medications that require special prescription or dispensing conditions:
- Hospital Diagnostic Drugs. They are prescribed by certain medical specialists. They are used in the treatment of diseases that must be diagnosed in the hospital environment, although the administration and follow-up can be done outside the hospital. In the package DH appears which means hospital diagnostic medicine.
- Medicines for Hospital Use. When due to their pharmacological characteristics or for their novelty, or for reasons of public health, they are reserved for treatments that can only be used or followed in a hospital environment.
- Narcotic drugs. The risk of misuse and diversion of illicit drug trafficking makes it necessary to establish in its prescription and dispensation specific requirements to prevent abuse and diversion to the illegal market of these drugs and, at the same time, guarantee the availability and accessibility of patients to them. For this reason, narcotic drugs can only be dispensed when they have been prescribed by the doctor in an official prescription for narcotic drugs.