BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Electronic prescriptions -- not fingerprinting
of patients at pharmacies as proposed by some policymakers -- could
help cut a substantial amount of illicit use of medications like
OxyContin, according to Karl D. Fiebelkorn, assistant dean for
student affairs and professional relations in the UB School of
Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
"We're starting to see prescriptions go electronic," said
Fiebelkorn, editor of "Pharmacy Law," a newsletter covering
pharmacy practice laws in New York published by the school.
"Already some doctors are writing prescriptions on their
personal digital assistants and sending them electronically into
pharmacies while the patient is still in their office. That gives
the doctor and the pharmacist an 'electronic paper trail,' if you
will, so that they both know where the prescription originated and
for whom it was written."
Fiebelkorn says the use of personal digital assistants such as
Palm Pilots by physicians to write a script may lead to elimination
of the "paper prescription" that a patient takes to a pharmacy.
"It's not only going to cut down on abuse," said Fiebelkorn,
"it's also going to cut down on transcription errors, such as when
a physician or the person writing it down makes a mistake, or when
the pharmacist misreads what's on the script."
Fiebelkorn noted that as a result of the increased reliance on
such technologies, students at UB's School of Pharmacy and
Pharmaceutical Sciences probably will be required to learn how to
use PDAs as part of the curriculum within the next two to three
years. Already, a student committee at the UB pharmacy school is
studying the feasibility of using PDAs as a standard classroom