Walgreens Pharmacy – Policy on Dispensing Controlled Substances


Following several inquiries by New Hampshire Medical Society members, NHMS staff members Scott Colby and Janet Monahan convened a meeting with representatives of New Hampshire’s Board of Pharmacy and representatives from Walgreens.  The meeting was held on Thursday, May 30, 2013, at the NHMS Concord offices to discuss the following:

    • Purpose of the new policy;
    • Scope of the new policy;
    • Concerns on the part of New Hampshire’s physicians community regarding the extra administrative “hurdle" this policy creates;
    • Implication(s) of such a policy on the access to pain medications; and
    • Whether the policy is consistent with New Hampshire prescribing law.

The hour-long discussion proved to be very fruitful.  In addition to Mr. Colby and Ms. Monahan, four representatives from Walgreens, the lobbyist for the Coalition of N.H. Chain Drug Stores and two members of the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy were in attendance. 

The key take-aways from this meeting for New Hampshire’s prescribers are as follows:

    • The Walgreens policy is not new.  Walgreens has always approached prescribers when identifying potential abuse by patients seeking to purchase controlled substances;
    • According to the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy, other pharmacies employ similar processes; however, they may not have notified prescribers as directly as Walgreens recently has;
    • The “new” policy is simply formalizing best practices for verifying the validity of a prescription for certain controlled substances;
    • This is a not a blanket approach, and the Walgreens pharmacists will continue to use their professional/clinical judgment before engaging in discussions with the prescriber; and
    • Walgreens is sympathetic to the increasing administrative burdens encountered by physicians and appears to be committed to ongoing dialogue with NHMS on this and other issues.

Click here to read the Q&A prepared for NHMS by Walgreens.

For further information or comment, please contact Scott Colby at scott.colby@nhms.org or call 603.224.1909.