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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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can a doctor write a prescription for a non-patient who is

Customer Question

can a doctor write a prescription for a non-patient who is an employee
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
Generally, all prescriptions are to be written for patients, after a history and physical examination and review of their other medications to ensure that the medication is not only appropriate, but also safe for the person.

However, this is not to say that does not happen in real life, but doctors should be writing these prescriptions appropriately for their patient's health and safety.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
my wife is a nurse. there were 2 prescriptions n the medicine cabinet, lexapro an phentrine (sp)
the lexapro was prescribed by her doctor. the weight loss was not. after researching on line and knowing she has high blood pressure and suffers from anxiety I asked her who wrote the weight loss prescription.
she told me a doctor she works with. To the best of my knowledge this is ethically unacceptable and if I'm not mistaken illegal. Am I correct?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
While it may not be illegal, the fact that the doctor wrote a prescription for her implies a doctor-patient relationship, so that the prescribing doctor is "responsible" for her health and safety concerning that medication. Should there be issues with the medication, this doctor could be held responsible, as it could be assumed there was a doctor-patient relationship and that an appropriate medical evaluation was done prior to prescribing the medication.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This doctor is a co-worker. there was not a patient doctor issue. Isn't it an ethics violation, due to the oathes, doctor are not to prescribe medication for non-patients? I do have a strong working knowledge of the legal system and the fact the prescription was written and due to the type of doctor he is he had no business legally writting this prescription. If I were a Internist would I be able to write a prescripition for haldol (sp) for a patient?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
As for the ethics, yes, it probably is not ethical to write prescriptions for people whom you do not have a doctor-patient relationship, because writing a prescription implies you are assuming such a relationship.

An Internist can write a prescription for Haldol without a problem; if the prescription was not medically appropriate, the Internist would have to deal with the consequences.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Therefore, for a patient the internist can write the haldol. The issue then takes a dramatic turn when he writes it for a co-worker. Ethically I believe, if reported to the hospital would certainly cause a problem.
And I'm just as sure the AMA would frown upon such conduct given the healthcare issues we currently
face on all levels.
I would have to wonder why a doctor would take such a professional risk to prescribe drugs to a non-patient. Any thoughts?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
I do see this happen in real life occasionally, as physicians will write prescriptions for friends or acquantances out of convenience, since one then does not have to make an appointment with the doctor to get the prescription. Most doctors do not assume this is a potential risk to themselves, but doing so does open them up to potential liability should something go wrong.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
You're response is very cautious. I have worked in broadcasting for 30 years in many markets across the
country. Let's get to the botXXXXX XXXXXne, a doctor can not write prescriptions ethically or legally for non patients. While I'm certain it does happen amongst those who think they are above the law and the ethical conduct they personally have chosen to follow.
I personally adhere to a strict code of conduct due to my profession and have "never" breached ethics or
the legal aspects of my profession.
Therefore, what would happen if I reported this incident to the hospital and the AMA? And once again, knowing the possible out come of doing this, why would a doctor risk his reputation and career violating these issues?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
I cannot speculate why any one doctor would write prescriptions for friends or acquantainces. The only person who can answer that question is the doctor himself. Certainly it can be done out of convenience, because some one would rather get a prescription "secretly", and other reasons.

And as for the hospital, there are committees that investigate claims of unprofessional behavior, so all claims would be investigated by this committee. I am not sure what kind of response you would get from the AMA, however, as technically this action is not illegal and they would not have the resources to further investigate such a claim.

As I can see you are upset by this issue, you may want to contact the hospital administration concerning this issue, since they will be the ones who would be able to further investigate your complaint.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I agree, no one speculate the actions of others. Due to my position, I have direct contact
with hospital board members and senior management.

The report to the AMA would be ethical. The report to the hospital would be legal. I am also curious as to your first paragraph response "and other reasons", please clarify.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
As I said before, I can't speculate on why one person would write a prescription for another. Other reasons are simply other reasons, and can include anything. Perhaps they thought they were doing a "favor", or trying to save them the time and money from a separate doctor's visit, or didn't want their regular doctor to know about the prescription. I just can't read people's minds, so I can't comment on what his motivations could have been.

Perhaps you want another opinion, so I will opt out.
Dr. Mark and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your time and input. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.