Ohio News: Physician Assistant Prescribing Is Imminent

Topics: Prescribing authority

Published in the May 2007 Ohio State Board of Pharmacy Newsletter

Last year, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 154, which significantly changed the scope of practice for physician assistants (PAs). A major change that will affect pharmacists the most is the addition of prescribing privileges for the PAs. Unlike the advanced practice nurse (APN) prescribing laws, which state that an APN can write for a 24-hour supply of a Schedule II controlled substance under very restrictive conditions, PAs will not be able to write any Schedule II controlled substance prescriptions at all. They will, however, be able to prescribe most other Schedule III-V and non-controlled substance drugs similar to prescribing APNs, as long as their supervising physicians permit it and they are properly licensed. Just like the APNs, a PA will have to register with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) before writing any controlled substance prescriptions. They will be registered as a mid-level practitioner, so their DEA numbers should begin with an M. Any PA prescriptions bearing only the PA’s signature and a DEA number that begins with an A or B should make it obvious to the pharmacist that the PA is using the doctor’s DEA number instead of the PA’s. That is not legal.

By the time this Newsletter is received, the State Medical Board of Ohio will probably have promulgated the required rules regarding PAs or be very close to doing so. Since the final Medical Board rules may become effective before another Newsletter is published, pharmacists need to be aware that PA prescribing is imminent. The rules will be published on the Medical Board’s Web site at www.med.ohio.gov and should be reviewed if there are any questions. Until the rules are published and effective, no PA in Ohio is permitted to issue a prescription. If you have any questions about PA prescribing, please call the Board office for further information.