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Utah doctors could dispense medication from offices, lawmaker says

By Andrew Adams | Posted - Aug. 30, 2013 at 9:04 p.m.

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WEST JORDAN — Several state lawmakers are weighing the option of giving doctors the ability to dispense the medications they prescribe right from their office.

Typically, when Utahns are sick, they have to go in for a doctor's appointment after he writes a prescription, they go to the pharmacy to pick up the medications. The new option would streamline the process for patients to only visit one location, but several doctors and patients said there would be other potential problems involved in the process.

"I would be concerned as to whether they were up on the prescriptions, whether they really knew the interactions (of the medications,)" said patient Sharon Poulsen.

Pediatrician, Keith Ramsey, said he would be concerned about a variety of problems involved with dispensing medications including counseling, privacy, labeling, collecting insurance and having the adequate space.

"We'd have to have space," Ramsey said. "We'd have to have storage."

However, Utah is one of only six states that don't already give doctors the right to dispense medications.

Lawmaker Evan Vickers works as a pharmacist in Cedar City when the legislature isn't in session. He is one of the lawmakers hoping to bring Utah in line and up to date with other states by allowing doctors dispensing authority. Vickers said he sees a lot of value in allowing doctors to dispense medications, particularly in emergencies.

"Even if it's opened up, there's not going to be an awful lot of physicians that do it," he said. "There'll be some and hopefully that they will do it, not to try and make money, but to benefit their patients."

Vickers said he still wants to meet with other specialists about the potential law and further investigate the issues, and if there is a consensus, he may introduce the bill in the upcoming legislative session.


Andrew Adams

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