Albuterol question....

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    So I got a call last night from a pharmacist to get a confirmation on a prescription. She couldn't fill a prescription for albuterol, she wanted me to tell her that Ventolin would be fine. Now I get that there are "no generic albuterol inhalers" anymore. But ventolin IS albuterol. Why can't the pharmacist just fill a prescription for albuterol with ventolin?
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  4. 18 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    I always thought it was the exact same thing too but this also begs the question of why is a pharmacist calling the nurse to verify substitutions? Shouldn't said pharmacist be calling the prescriber for that?

    I don't think this would be an issue in my state because prescriptions always have a little disclaimer on them that says something like, "substitutions are mandated unless the prescriber writes 'no substitutions'". That's, of course, usually referring to using generics in place of brand-name drugs but if you come in with a prescription that says "albuterol", the pharmacy can give you whatever brand of it they have in stock... ventolin, proventil, whatever.
    wooh likes this.
  6. 1
    I try to explain the process of writing the order with the generic name of the medication to other nurses and they insist on using the brand name. When I explain that it is to avoid problems like this, they still object, because writing "tylenol" is "how it is always done". That was not how I was taught in school and not how it was done at my first place of employment. When I asked about this on my first job it was explained to me the same way it was explained in school. It is too bad that when people insist on something like this, they are not the ones to confront problems when they arise.

    It is best to prevent the situation in the first place by seeing that the doctor writes the script using the generic name to preclude any misunderstandings. It should also be written on the order sheet and on the MAR in this manner. An order for albuterol could have been filled with any brand of albuterol, the brand named drugs also give the generic information on the package. And I agree the pharmacist should have been talking to the doctor about this. Suspect that a new pharmacy technician was involved here.
    wooh likes this.
  7. 0
    We always get calls from pharmacists after discharge with questions on hospitalist prescriptions. Usually it requires calling the current hospitalist that's on. Sometimes it's just that they want to make sure the number of days that was prescribed. (How many days left post-hospitalization on an antibiotic, and the patient thinks it should be different than what was prescribed. I can read in the note, something like, "to complete 10 day course" and count the days on the MAR and then the family is happy.) Sometimes it's a worry about an allergy (on a med they've gotten for three four days and it says on their chart that the doctor ok'ed it. But this one was just so odd to me. Just give him an inhaler!!
    Last edit by wooh on Apr 7, '12
  8. 4
    It could be an insurance issue.
    If a med is written as the generic sometimes the insurance only wants to pay the generic reimbursement even if it's only available as a brand name.

    I also know that in some places that 'substitution permitted' means the pharmacist can only go from brand name to generic, they can't 'up sale' from generic to brand name (I ran into that recently with one of my scripts, pharmacy was out of the generic but wasn't allowed to sub the brand name).
    wooh, Ashley, PICU RN, ~*Stargazer*~, and 1 other like this.
  9. 1
    Knowledgeable providers put the most prevalent brand name in parentheses following the generic name on the order. This is the way I see it done a majority of the time. Precludes the "payor" and "availability" issues most of the time.
    wooh likes this.
  10. 7
    The pharmacy need to have it specifically stated to get reimbursement for the patient from the insurance co. I know it seems like a no brainer.........but insurnce co don't have brains
    morte, VivaLasViejas, SHGR, and 4 others like this.
  11. 0
    Quote from esme12
    i know it seems like a no brainer.........but insurnce co don't have brains
    i'll 2nd that emotion :d
  12. 1
    An insurance issue was my first thought as well. In order for the pharmacy to get reimbursed for the medication by the insurance company, they have to prove that they filled the right medication, and if the insurance plan required generics, they have to fill with the generic unless specifically stated by the doctor.

    In this case, I'm guessing the pharmacy was out of albuterol and thus needed to use the brand name Ventolin (more expensive). There's probably some sort of box the pharmacy tech needs to check on the insurance form that say "Brand name required by provider" or something similar. Calling you was the pharmacy tech's way of covering his butt in order to get insurance approval for the brand name medication.
    wooh likes this.
  13. 2
    Thanks guys!
    Quote from Esme12
    I know it seems like a no brainer.........but insurnce co don't have brains
    That's probably the biggest thing there!
    elprup and KelRN215 like this.


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