just today i had an opportunity to find out about emergency dispensing in nj. i called my doctor's office on dec. 23 to have them call the pharmacy to renew my metformin prescription. the office worker said she would call it in. i had 3 days of medicine left, and i won't die if i go without it, so i didn't call the pharmacy until today, dec. 26 to see if my meds were ready. they said the doctor's office had never called in the prescription. i then called the office several times, leaving messages. i did not want to call the doctor's emergency cell phone number since it wasn't a life or death situation, and i don't want to risk antagonizing her since she is prescribing me two drugs that have improved my health. but i was irritated. i was also curious if the pharmacist would give me an emergency refill.
the pharmacy tech put me on hold while she said she was going to ask the pharmacist if he would do the emergency refill. i was out on a walk and was on hold for like 5 minutes, so i just called the number back and the pharmacist answered this time. i told him my situation, and he said he would give me an emergency supply, which i got.
i then researched nj's law regarding emergency dispensing:
All pharmacists encounter the following situation several times a year. A patient comes
into the pharmacy on Sunday afternoon at 4pm and is completely out of their medication. The
physician is not available to authorize a refill for the patient on a Sunday. The last thing any
pharmacist wants to do is have the patient go without their medication for any period of time.
However, there is a statue that covers just such an example in New Jersey. In the absence of a
current, valid prescription, a pharmacist may dispense an emergency supply of a chronic
maintenance drug if in his/her professional judgment refusal to dispense the drug would
endanger the health or welfare of the patient. However, for a pharmacist to do this, there are a
few conditions that must be met:
1) No more than a 72-hour quantity can be given.
2) The pharmacist must determine to the best of his/her ability, by direct communication with
the patient or caregiver, that such medication was prescribed for that patient by order of a
3) The pharmacist must document the communication in the patient profile record system
maintained by the pharmacy.
4) The pharmacist must document the dispensing of the emergency supply in the prescription
5) The pharmacist must require the patient or caregiver to provide suitable identification.
i have my prescriptions done through this pharmacy, so that probably made it easier for me. the pharmacist didn't even ask for identification. i'm not sure if things would have gone so smoothly if i were asking for a medication that was not as benign (when it comes to side effects) as metformin.