Medication Refills by Phone

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What is the policy?

Patients requesting prescription renewal will be strongly encouraged to attend the clinic for these requests. In unusual circumstances, the patient’s doctor will review the request, and phone in the prescription. The patient may have to endure some delay before this doctor is available. In extreme circumstances, the doctor on call for emergencies will review the patients case, and phone in the prescription if he feels it is a true emergency.
Phoning in a prescription by phone is a non-insured service and therefore a fee will be payable for this service.
A prescription will only be phoned in when the patient requesting the renewal expresses an intention to personally pay the $15.00 which will be billed for this service. If this fee is not paid, then future prescribing by phone may be refused by the doctor.

Why has this policy been put in effect?

There are a number of reasons why we have decided to implement this policy. They centre around the practice of good and safe medicine for our patients.

Effective, but complicated:

Medications have become more and more effective. At the same time, their use has become more complicated, and carries with it the possibility of interacting with other medicines. They are only be prescribed for good reasons.

Chronic conditions:

When they are prescribed for an on-going medical or psychological condition they are being prescribed for a “chronic” condition.

Good medical practice dictates that chronic medical conditions should be regularly monitored by the treating physician. Good quality monitoring does not occur by the “remote control” process of a patient talking to our front desk staff, who writes a short note to the doctor who may not even know the patient who then later in the day phones a medication to a pharmacist.

Prescribing errors possible:

The current practice widens the opportunity for dangerous errors. A patient talks on the phone to the staff person who writes down a request. A doctor who may not even know the patient reads the request, surveys the chart and phones a pharmacist. The pharmacist translates his order into medication for the patient. Each one of these acts opens the way for an error to occur.

Pill confusion:

As we deal with more complex chronic illness, we find that more and more medications are prescribed by more than one doctor.

Medications can also be known by more than one name. Thus, an office review of ALL the pills in their original bottles at the doctors office may reveal that a patient is receiving five kinds of pills, when the doctor intended the patient to only be receiving two! Or, visa versa.

Drug interactions:

Unrecognized drug interactions are much easier to detect when the patient visits the doctor. They are becoming more commonplace in the complex world of medicine we live in.


5-10 % of all phone-in prescriptions to pharmacies are determined to be by people fraudulently seeking drugs.

Is there another way that I can get a “Repeat prescription”?

If your doctor judges that your chronic condition justifies regular renewal of your medication without an office visit, the doctor will make all reasonable effort to write “repeat” instructions on the prescription for the pharmacist to follow.

Feel free to ask your doctor to consider doing this at the time of your visit. Remember, however, that good medical practice dictates that chronic medical conditions should be regularly monitored by the treating physician.

Our goal is the practice of good and safe medicine: Our goal is to practice good and safe medicine. Your cooperation with this policy tells us that you appreciate the desire of the Medical Arts Centre to be of service to you in providing high quality medical care.

Thank you from the staff and physicians at the Medical Arts Centre