Who Can Legally Write Prescriptions in Nevada? (Part 1)

Is it only physicians who may legally write “script” in Nevada?  What class of persons or entities may prescribe medications?

One could sarcastically respond that “anyone can write a prescription”.  This is similar to the question clients and would-be clients often ask, i.e. “Can so and so sue me for that?”  The answer is, “Anyone can sue you for anything”.  “All it takes is some typed up pleadings and a filing fee, and just about any court will file your complaint and give you a case number”.  In law, rather, the proper question is “Can someone ‘win’ in a lawsuit against me?”

Thus, anyone with a computer can print out a letter “prescribing” medication for anyone else, including herself.  The problem becomes whether the recipient of the prescription can find someone to fill and dispense it.  The pharmacists stock the drugs.  The health care providers do not.

Pharmacists Supply Drugs for Legally Written Prescriptions

Nevada law describes what prescriptions pharmacists may fill and dispense.

The practitioners whose prescriptions a pharmacist may fill are several, and are delineated in NRS 639.0125, “Practitioner” defined.  They are:

  • a physician, dentist, veterinarian or podiatric physician who holds a license to practice his or her profession in Nevada,
  • a licensed hospital
  • a licensed pharmacy
  • any other institution licensed, registered or otherwise permitted to distribute, dispense, conduct research with respect to or administer drugs in the course of professional practice or research in Nevada
  • an advanced practice registered nurse who has been authorized to prescribe controlled substances, poisons, dangerous drugs and devices;
  • a (medical) physician assistant who, both, holds a license issued by the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners and is authorized by the Board to possess, administer, prescribe or dispense controlled substances, poisons, dangerous drugs or devices under the supervision of a physician as required by chapter 630 of NRS
  • an osteopathic physician assistant who holds a license issued by the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, and is authorized by the Board to possess, administer, prescribe or dispense controlled substances, poisons, dangerous drugs or devices under the supervision of an osteopathic physician as required by chapter 633 of NRS
  • an optometrist who is certified by the Nevada State Board of Optometry to prescribe and administer therapeutic pharmaceutical agents pursuant to NRS 636.288, when the optometrist prescribes or administers therapeutic pharmaceutical agents within the scope of his or her certification.

In the instance of advanced practice nurses, the authorization must be obtained first, from the Board of Nursing, and then the Board of Pharmacy.  Both boards must approve the authorization to prescribe controlled medications.   Specifically, pursuant to NRS 639.2351, an advanced practice registered nurse may prescribe, in accordance with NRS 454.695 and 632.237, controlled substances, poisons, dangerous drugs and devices if the advanced practice registered nurse is both  authorized to do so by the Nevada State Board of Nursing in a license issued by that Board and  the nurse applies for, pays for and obtains a certificate of registration from the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy.  Thus the Nevada Board of Pharmacy may refuse to issue a certificate of registration, even if the Board of Nursing has approved it.  NRS 639.2351(2)(b).

This is for informational purposes only.  No client relationship is created by the posting or reading of this information.  To obtain legal advice, you must consult with a Nevada licensed attorney.

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