Effective August 18, 2017, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation adopted new rules related to patient counseling that will affect the practice of pharmacy.  Pharmacists will now be required to provide verbal counseling prior to dispensing a prescription to a new patient; a new medication to an existing patient; and any medications where the dose, strength, route of administration, or directions for use has changed.  The new rules are a departure from the previous requirement that a patient merely be offered counseling.  Under the new rules, an offer to provide counseling must still be made on all other prescriptions where counseling is not mandated.  The Division appreciates a pharmacist’s vital role in serving patients.  Mandated counseling ensures patients have the information necessary to comply with medication regimens and avoid potentially harmful interactions.

The adopted rules also require pharmacies serving patients at physical locations to post an 8 1/2 x 11-inch color sign (available for download from the Division’s website) notifying patients of their right to counseling.  The rules became effective upon publication in the August 18, 2017 issue of the Illinois Register, but the Division acknowledges pharmacies may need time to implement these new requirements.  However the grace period for this new time ended September 1, 2017.