Pharmacy Facts & Laws That Will Shock You

by Tera Tuten on November 10, 2011

Did you know that marijuana was made illegal by passing a tax act in 1937? How does this work? You have to have a stamp to possess marijuana, but it’s illegal to possess marijuana without the stamp.

Today, pharmacists, physicians, and consumers are still faced with amazing and laws. Let’s look at some little-known facts that will make any health practitioner worth his weight in aspirin shake his head.

Something Good in Louisiana

After Katrina, most Americans like to wrinkle their noses at the powers that be in the Bayou State, but here’s an interesting fact: Louisiana is the first state to require that a pharmacist be licensed. This took place in 1806. Things get much sillier after this handy fact.

Some Things Never Change In Texas

For instance, the conservative approach to birth control has been around in the Lone Star State, in pious legislated fashion, for awhile. Here’s the law: “In Texas, no one other than a registered pharmacist may sell condoms, or other kinds of contraceptives.”

Since We’re Talking About Sex, You Should Know…

Generic Viagra is not available in the United States because Pfizer holds an exclusive patent. If  you’re receiving generic Viagra offers, they’re not coming from a licensed American pharmacist! It’s probably not a good idea to buy and/or take that drug. Of course, it could just be a placebo created to give the patient a psychological edge. This brings up another little known law.

Is It Fake or Is It a Placebo?

Arizona has one tough narcotics law. It is illegal to manufacture or distribute a fake controlled substance. It’s also against the law to make and sell imitation prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. However, placebos are perfectly legal. This may be splitting hairs just a bit, but you have to admit it brings a smile to a pharmacist’s lips.

On a Serious Note, Consumers Should Know a Pharmacist Can’t Be Bought

Consumers often complain that their doctors are being bought by the drug reps. It’s rare to enter a physician’s waiting room and not see a young, hopeful pharmaceutical representative waiting to see the doctor. The same situation would hold true for pharmacists, but rest assured, it is illegal for pharmacists to accept incentives to distribute a particular drug. In fact, any licensed pharmacist who does engage in bribery or incentives will face jail time and hefty fines.

Be Careful When Running Pharmacy Errands for Someone Else

A woman in Florida was prosecuted for illegal possession of a narcotic when an officer stopped her and noticed a bottle of hydrocodone. The medication belonged to her husband, and the number of pills in the bottle didn’t match what the officer calculated should have been there. Although the couple had a complicated way of storing drugs, it wasn’t a good enough defense to keep her from being convicted. It took an appeals court to overturn the verdict.

The DEA and Pain Specialists Collide

In the early part of the 21st century, the DEA took a focused look at physicians and their pain management practices. Without much knowledge about the difference between tolerance and addiction, the agency set about prosecuting doctors who, in the DEA’s opinion, were prescribing questionable pain medications.

The DEA’s Favorite Punching Bag – Marijuana

The debate over medical marijuana never ends. If we go back to fun fact number one, the year marijuana was outlawed, the government held hearings to get input from professionals. The AMA stated the organization could not find harmful effects from the substance. This begs the question, “Have we been overlooking a safe and effective pain medication for 100 years?”

Here’s an example of a catch-22 in the states’ attempt to face facts. If you’re a qualifying patient you can use marijuana for medical use in Michigan. However, due to the Controlled Substance Act, pharmacists are not allowed to dispense marijuana because physicians can’t prescribe it. It’s a step in the right direction, but some legislative overhaul is needed.

The question may be whether pharmacists want to dispense marijuana. Past experience with the DEA and pain specialists may keep licensed practitioners on the conservative side of the issue.

One Final Fun Fact About Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey does not contain any more tryptophan than any other meat. The sleepy episode that assaults Americans on Thanksgiving Day has more to do with over eating and too much beer than tryptophan.


It’s certainly fun to take a lighthearted look at some of the laws and facts where our American pharmaceutical industry is concerned, but it also shines a light on just how far the US has to go before it gets a real handle on the good and bad practices that accompany the drug industry.


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