Doctor Surprised By Enforcement Of Old Oklahoma Pharmacy Law
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy is now enforcing a law that's been on the books for decades.
The law says pharmacies cannot ship a medication, with a patient's name on it, to a doctor's office.
Doctor George Monks at Tulsa Dermatology Clinic says he has patients with skin cancer, who now can't get chemotherapy. Dr. Monks said, "I really have no idea why it exists. I think it's a ridiculous law."
The law requires pharmacies to ship medications to patients -- not their doctors. The state's Chief Pharmacist Compliance Officer says the law is just now being enforced because the board doesn't want doctors "ordering a bunch of medication under a patient's name", then "using medication for personal use".
"It has nothing to do with a physician profiting or taking advantage of a patient. Quite the opposite. We're trying to help our patients out," said Dr. Monks.
Monks says the statute will cause patients to suffer -- in fact, it already is. Heejin Davies, has psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Monks has been giving her shots of Stelara for years to clear her skin and ease her pain.
Now, she, and dozens of other patients, might have to get the medication delivered to their doorsteps, refrigerate it and take it, in a brown bag, to a doctor to be administered. It's called "brown bagging" and the Oklahoma State Medical Association says it's "troublesome".
Dr. Monks said, "These are patients that were so sick that they were very close to ending up in a hospital. Because of these medications that are available, we've actually been able to clear their condition."
What concerns Monks most is this doesn't just affect him as a dermatologist, but all Oklahoma doctors. Pharmacies are now being held accountable if they ship a patient's medication, with their name on it, to a doctor's office. There are exceptions for people who are homeless or mentally ill.
The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy says a committee is considering rewriting the statute.