Can pharmacists ask for patient information protected under HIPAA?
Pharmacies and pharmacists are covered under HIPAA as “healthcare providers,” which includes entities who sell or “dispense a drug, device, equipment or other item in accordance with a prescription.” (45 CFR 160.103 par (3))
Is Walgreens’ policy designed to “limit” the quantity of pain medication that can be dispensed to patients?
No. A prescription for a large quantity of narcotics may draw increased scrutiny, but a physician’s prescriptions are not denied solely because of the quantity of tablets prescribed.
Similarly, Walgreens does not want to inconvenience our patients by making them go to multiple pharmacies. If one Walgreens pharmacist refuses a specific prescription for an opioid for a patient, that prescription will be refused at all Walgreen pharmacies, as it has been entered in our system as “refused.” Each patient should be given this information to avoid travelling to multiple Walgreens pharmacies in order to fill a prescription…
Nationally, wholesalers and distributors are limiting the amount of opioids, which are dispensed to all pharmacies – Walgreens as well as all other pharmacy chains and independents.