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AMS EVP Speaks Out On Physician Dispensing

Article from Arkansas Business Online – 12/3/2012

Arkansas Medical Society Urges No Appeal in Doctors Selling Drugs Case

Until last month, the Arkansas Medical Society stayed out of a fight between the Arkansas State Medical Board and doctors who want to sell prescription drugs out of their offices.

The Medical Society passed a resolution urging the board not to appeal the order when it is eventually handed down by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza. The order will make it easier for doctors to receive permits to sell drugs.

The AMS’ position, of course, is the opposite of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, which called the ruling “dangerous.”

“There’s not a public outcry for physicians to dispense,” Mark Riley, executive vice president of the association, told Arkansas Business last month. “There’s not a need … here.”

David Wroten, EVP of the AMS, defended the position to Whispers in an email.

“It is a convenience for the patient for those occasions where making a second trip to fill their prescription would create a burden or delay in starting their treatment,” he wrote. “We do not expect that many physicians will want to do this but for those that do, it will be easier for them to do so.”

If you recall, Dr. Dana Carol Abraham of Little Rock wanted to sell prescription drugs from her office, but first needed to go before the Medical Board to get a permit. The board denied her application because she didn’t show a “need.” In nearly all cases, the board has denied physicians’ requests.

Abraham appealed the decision in court, and Piazza ruled from the bench in her favor. But the board’s attorney, William Trice, had some follow-up questions. He is going back in front of Piazza on Jan. 4 for clarification.

“We’re trying to get him to home in exactly on how broad or how narrow he was making a ruling,” Trice said. “Once we get that, then we’ll get a better concept of what we’re dealing with.”

After the order is entered, Trice said, he will then decide AMB’s next move.

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2 thoughts on “AMS EVP Speaks Out On Physician Dispensing”

  1. Lynn says:

    I manage a free/charitable clinic that also has a pharmacy in house. We function with primarily a volunteer staff from physicians, nurses, pharmacists to maintenance and clerical help. With this type of staffind, we find ourselves without a pharmacist on occasion. It is typical that we would have a physician on site that may prescribe but no pharmacist. When this occured previously, we had to send the patient away to return for their medication. This poses a challenge in that they may have only had enough gas money for one trip to the clinic. With the January 17 ruling from Judge Piazza, is it now possible for my physicians to dispense prescription medication from their office?

    Thank you
    Lynn Blankenship

  2. Courtney Hirscheider says:

    We’ve been told that the Arkansas State Medical Board does not intend to file an appeal in the case. Therefore, after a review of the ruling, the practical result is that the ASMB, will no longer base a decision whether to grant a dispensing physician permit on a showing of “need”. That does not change the fact that one must still apply for, and obtain a permit from the Board and comply with the regulations in place for dispensing. If you are considering becoming a dispensing physician, you should contact the Arkansas State Medical Board and request a permit application and thoroughly review the requirements set forth in the dispensing physician regulation adopted by the Board. – David Wroten, AMS EVP

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