So what arguments have been advanced to justify such a restraint? The main argument is set forth in this paragraph:
“We’ve had so many prescriptions being transferred, and every time a transfer occurs, there is an increased chance of error because they’re all done verbally,” said Ernest E. Boyd, executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. Errors can occur in phone calls between pharmacists, with possible points of confusion including many drugs having sound-alike names or dosages being misunderstood.The article also suggests that transfers can also result in prescriptions being active in multiple pharmacies, allowing the patient to purchase more drugs than he or she is entitled to.
It sounds to me as though pharmacists simply don’t want to be bothered with transfers or with competition.
Ohio is actually solving the wrong problem. In this age of computers and the Internet, one might think that the medical community could devise a way to communicate prescription information reliably and securely without having to dictate information over the telephone. If the prescription transfer process is broken, even transferring a prescription once in a year is hazardous.
Interestingly, one doesn’t hear about banks asking the government to limit money transfers because effecting them over the telephone is error-prone. Banks transfer billions of dollars every day, and—trust me on this one—banks are pretty good at doing it right. Maybe pharmacy schools need to add more computer courses to the curriculum.