The Rx Consultant 

Pharmacist Prescribing Practical and Legal Considerations

This CE activity was originally published in The Rx Consultant.  If you received credit for it previously, you cannot receive credit for it again.
Nearly 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy. This proximity, in addition to their expertise in drug therapy, puts pharmacists in a unique position to oversee and manage patients’ medications.1 The pharmacy profession has consistently advocated for expanding the scope of pharmacist's practice to include patient care services beyond the traditional role of dispensing. This expansion includes authorizing pharmacists to prescribe medications. Authorization for pharmacists to prescribe is defined by state regulations, federal agencies (eg, Indian Health Service [IHS], Veterans Health Administration [VHA]), employers, and professional organizations.2 At the state level, a number of advances have been made that provide pharmacists with limited prescriptive authority. Although almost every state authorizes pharmacists to prescribe to some extent, the models and restrictions vary – leading to considerable state-to-state variability. As of 2016, 49 states and the District of Columbia had enabled prescriptive authority under collaborative practice agreements (CPAs), standing orders, and/ or statewide protocols.3 Currently, pharmacist prescribing at the state level generally exists along a continuum that includes 2 categories of prescriptive authority. The legal authority for both categories is established by state law, including state practice acts and board of pharmacy regulations. 



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Target Audience(s)

Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Registered Nurses


This CE activity was developed by The Rx Consultant, a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.

CE activities for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians:
This continuing education (CE) activity meets the requirements of all state boards of pharmacy for approved continuing education hours.  CE credit is automatically reported to CPE Monitor.
CE activities for Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists: 
    This continuing education activity meets the requirements of:
        The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for formally approved continuing education (CE) hours, and CE hours of pharmacotherapeutics.
        The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) for acceptable, accredited CE.
    This is a pharmacotherapeutics/pharmacology CE activity.
  • The ANCC requires all advanced practice nursing certificants (CNSs and NPs) to complete 25 CE hours of pharmacotherapeutics as a portion of the required 75 continuing education hours.
  • Pharmacology CE is recommended by the AANPCP and will be required for Certificants renewing certification starting January 2017.  
  • Most State Boards of Nursing require a minimum number of pharmacy contact hours to renew an advanced practice license.
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

Requirements for CE Credit

To receive CE credit, the participant must read the monograph in its entirety, complete the online post-test and receive a score of 70% or greater, and complete the online evaluation.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians -
Be sure your profile has been updated with your NAPB e-profile # and birth date information BEFORE completing the online evaluation, or your credits cannot be reported to CPE Monitor.
Continuing pharmacy education credit is automatically reported to CPE Monitor once the post-test & evaluation are successfully completed




  • Recognize the benefits of pharmacist prescribing for patients.
  • Explain the two categories of prescriptive authority for pharmacists and identify key elements of a collaborative practice agreement.
  • Discuss various models that states utilize for pharmacist prescribing, and describe the medication classes that are commonly involved in these programs.
  • Describe the legal concerns for pharmacists when they prescribe medications and state the 4 elements that are needed to show that a health care provider is negligent and responsible for patient harm.


Kimberly Burns , RPh, JD
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

Brief Bio : Kimberly Burns RPh, JD is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Activity Number


Release Date: Aug 22, 2020
Credit Expiration Date: Aug 22, 2023

CE Hours