row of bottles and pills on a chemists counter

By Jennifer J. Thomas

The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy promulgated a Final Rule on September 20, 2016 giving Louisiana licensed pharmacists the authority to perform medication synchronization and refill consolidation services for their patients.   Under the Rule, the pharmacist may adjust the dispensing quantity and refill schedule for multiple medications so that all of the patient’s medications can be dispensed on the same day each month ultimately reducing the number of trips a patient has to make to the pharmacy.

While the pharmacist may adjust the quantity or refill schedule originally ordered by the prescribing physician, the pharmacist cannot dispense more than the total quantity of the original prescription plus refills. For example, if the original prescription was for thirty (30) pills taken over thirty (30) days with three (3) refills, the total quantity of pills would be one hundred and twenty (120) pills. With refill consolidation, the pharmacist can adjust the quantity to initially dispense 15 pills with refills of 45, 30, and 30 to achieve the same total quantity originally prescribed over the same time period.

If the prescription is for a controlled substance where refills have been authorized by the prescriber, the pharmacist can partially fill the prescription, but cannot exceed the quantity noted on the original prescription. If the prescription is for a Schedule II controlled substance and the pharmacist is unable to supply the full quantity called for in the prescription, the pharmacist may partially fill that prescription; however the remaining portion of the prescription should be dispensed within 72 hours. Otherwise, the pharmacist must notify the prescriber and a new prescription must be written.

The intent of medication synchronization and refill consolidation is to help reduce medication waste and improve medication adherence. According to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, there is evidence that patients with simple medication schedules are more likely to actually take their medications. By synchronizing medications prescribed by multiple prescribers such that a patient only has to make one visit to the pharmacy each month, there is also an increased likelihood of reducing transportation costs for the patients.

The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy notified all pharmacies and pharmacists of the new medication synchronization rule on September 21, 2016. Therefore, consumers can now work with their local pharmacists to get all of their prescription medications in sync.