More physicians are beginning to provide prescriptions right from the office...growing trend and certain a big convenience for patients...and a small additional income area for the MD...BD

When Anne Johnson recently visited the Nighttime Pediatrics and Adult Care Too! clinic near her home in Millersville with a case of hives, the doctor told her she needed steroids and several days' worth of antihistamines. But he didn't hand her a prescription. Instead, Johnson, 46, got a dose of each drug on the spot, and the chance to buy the rest on her way out the clinic door. Given the late hour -- 11 p.m. -- Johnson gladly accepted. Some area residents are taking advantage of similar services to buy their drugs at their doctors' offices. Such "point of care" dispensing is outlawed in some states but not in Maryland, Virginia and the District, where dispensing physicians need only authorization from pharmacy boards to assume a role once held almost exclusively by pharmacists.

Commonly prescribed medications such as antibiotics, pain drugs and allergy pills make up the bulk of the drugs doctors sell, Bard says. But specialists have also expressed interest in dispensing more-targeted prescriptions, such as cancer drugs.  A recent change in clinic policy has made him rethink that decision. "Now that they're accepting insurance and only charging a co-pay," Newman says, "it might be worth my while to see the doctor and get the medicine all in one stop.

Doctor? Or Druggist? -


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