Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Pharmacists' Rating of Relevance of Available Information In

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Pharmaceutical Science

First Advisor

Noel Wilkin

Second Advisor

Erin Holmes

Third Advisor

Donna West-Strum


Pharmacists are tasked with making decisions regarding the validity of prescriptions. Some have proposed factors that should be considered when evaluating a prescription's validity. Yet, there is little known about the decision process that pharmacists employ at the time of dispensing and what information pharmacists deem relevant in that decision-making process. Using an online survey instrument, a sample of community pharmacists were divided into three groups and presented with a prescription scenario. They were asked to rate the relevance of information, which is proposed to be appropriate and inappropriate, available at the time of dispensing. They were asked to consider this information in the context of deciding the validity of a prescription. The medications presented in the groups were a schedule-III opioid pain medication, a non-controlled legend antibiotic, or a muscle relaxant with a potential for abuse. A total of 2,328 pharmacists were sent requests to participate. This resulted in 104 usable responses, which represents a response rate of 7.7%. The relevance of the information was shown to differ based on the prescription type. Pharmacists attributed greater relevance to irrelevant factors when deciding the validity of prescription for a controlled substance than they did when evaluating an antibiotic (p<0.001). This also was the case for suspicious factors (p<0.001) and determinative factors (p<0.003). Other factors were explored also. It seems clear that pharmacists are likely to judge different pieces of information about the patient and situation to be relevant depending on the medication being filled. Further research is needed to understand the role that this plays in pharmacists' decisions to fill and willingness to fill different types of prescriptions.



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