Medical Ethics

1/3 of community pharmacists don’t tell parents they are dispensing off-label drugs to children

Public release date: 11-Jul-2007

Forty per cent of community pharmacists have dispensed an off-label drug to a child in the last month, according to research published in the July issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

Pharmacists said the most common off-label dispensing of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines involved giving a drug to a child who was younger than the recommended minimum age for the drug or giving them higher than the recommended dose.

“And a third said they didn’t feel they had a responsibility to inform parents of off-label prescribing, possibly because this could suggest criticism of the family doctor who prescribed the drug.”

The researchers also found that most of the 482 randomly-selected pharmacists gained their knowledge of off-label dispensing through work experience rather than education.

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