Pharmacists Refuse To Fill Florence Doctor's Prescriptions - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Pharmacists Refuse To Fill Florence Doctor's Prescriptions

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FLORENCE -

Paperwork from the Board of Montana Medical Examiners shows several pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions for the patients of Dr. Chris Christensen, the founder of Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Florence, due to unusually large doses of medication.

Dr. Doug Coffin, a professor at the Skaggs School Of Pharmacy at UM, said a pharmacist has the right to refuse to fill a prescription if they think it's not legitimate.

On a daily basis pharmacists deal with inaccurate, sometimes even suspicious prescriptions that come through their pharmacies.

"Pharmacists everyday face questions, and typically they have to deal with some small note or question on the prescription," Coffin said.

During the course of their education, all pharmacists are trained to check with a physician if it looks like there's an error on the prescription.

"Whether it's the dose, how it's to be administered, the number of items per day, age of the patient, patients information, anything of that nature," Coffin said.

Sometimes pharmacists even come across a physician whose prescribing noticeably high dosages to their patients.

"If a number of prescriptions are coming from one physician, then they won't fill the prescription, and that's a part of the training," Coffin said.

This is what happened in the case of Dr. Christensen, according to a notice of suspension filed by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners. Documents show pharmacists refused to prescribe several of Christensen's prescriptions, because they were unusually large doses. An investigation found Christensen prescribed almost 9,000 methadone tablets in a 133 day period to one chronic pain patient.

Coffin said the recommended dose is three pills per day. This patient was getting 20 times that on average, that's about 67 pills per day.

"Anything that might tip them off like that, then they have venues to report that," Coffin said.

In these cases pharmacists can call the Montana Board of Pharmacy and the Montana Board of Medical Examiners, or they can go straight to the DEA. The Board of Pharmacy filed a complaint against Christensen in January, after patients complained pharmacists refused to fill their prescriptions.

ABC FOX Montana called Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care, and the clinic's voicemail said it is closed until further notice.

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