Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

The legal and ethical implications of prescribing prescription drugs, disclosure, and nondisclosure

As an advanced practice nurse prescribing drugs, you are held accountable for people’s lives every day. Patients and their families will often place trust in you because of your position. With this trust comes power and responsibility, as well as an ethical and legal obligation to “do no harm.” It is important that you are aware of current professional, legal, and ethical standards for advanced practice nurses with prescriptive authority. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the treatment plans and administration/prescribing of drugs is in accordance with the regulations of the state in which you practice. Understanding how these regulations may affect the prescribing of certain drugs in different states may have a significant impact on your patient’s treatment plan. In this Assignment, you explore ethical and legal implications of scenarios and consider how to appropriately respond.


To Prepare

· Review the Resources for this module and consider the legal and ethical implications of prescribing prescription drugs, disclosure, and nondisclosure.

· Review the scenario assigned by your Instructor for this Assignment. ( see below the scenario)

· Search specific laws and standards for prescribing prescription drugs and for addressing medication errors for your state (Florida) or region, and reflect on these as you review the scenario assigned by your Instructor.

· Consider the ethical and legal implications of the scenario for all stakeholders involved, such as the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and patient’s family.

· Think about two strategies that you, as an advanced practice nurse, would use to guide your ethically and legally responsible decision-making in this scenario, including whether you would disclose any medication errors.

Scenario 1:    

· A friend calls and asks you to prescribe a medication for her. You have this autonomy, but you don’t have your friend’s medical history. You write the prescription anyway.


Write a 2 – 3 pages paper that addresses the following:

1. Explain the ethical and legal implications of the scenario you selected on all stakeholders involved, such as the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and patient’s family.

2. Describe strategies to address disclosure and nondisclosure as identified in the scenario you selected. Be sure to reference laws specific to your state. (Florida, United States)

3. Explain two strategies that you, as an advanced practice nurse, would use to guide your decision-making in this scenario, including whether you would disclose your error. Be sure to justify your explanation.

4. Explain the process of writing prescriptions, including strategies to minimize medication errors.




Ethical and Legal Implications and Practices Related to Prescribing Drugs




Student’s Name






Ethical and Legal Implications and Practices Related to Prescribing Drugs

Exploring Ethical and Legal Implications

For any visit to the healthcare system, the chances of medication prescription are very high. During a patient’s drug prescription, there are some vital factors to consider: health history and physical examination of the patient (Shanthanna et al., 2020). A healthcare provider should perform the prescriptions based on a patient’s diagnosis and understand the quality a patient should have according to the health history and the physical examination. Drug administration error causes some fatal medical accidents resulting in patient death. To minimize the occurrence of such incidences and other medical errors through a reporting system, policies and legal frameworks exist for the purpose. This essay will explore the ethical and legal implications on the stakeholders, strategies addressing disclosure and nondisclosure, strategies to guide one during decision-making, and lastly, look at the process of writing prescriptions.

Ethical and Legal Implications on the Stakeholders

Prescribers occupy the first position in the chain of events involving the administration of medication prescribed according to the standard of an elderly patient, and the mistake begins with the prescriber, where it is ethically and legally gratuitous. Firstly, the prescriber fully understands that the patient is a child, and prescribing drugs for a child according to the standard elderly patient place the child at risk of overdoes and exposes the patient to a legal trial. Secondly, the pharmacist is also accountable for compounding the prescriber’s mistake, as the pharmacist should be interested in the patient receiving the medications (Beer et al., 2021). Questioning and authenticating the patient’s demographic features, including age, is crucial before prescribing drugs. The patient and the family have not worked against any ethical or legal principle as they trust their physicians and take medication believing the physician is accurate. For them not being professionals, the prescriber and the pharmacists are ethically and legally guilty of the wrong prescription.

Strategies Addressing Disclosure and Nondisclosure

Medical professions concede the contingency of medical errors within the profession. Health institutions, states, and the federal government have established procedures to prevent medical errors and reporting response channels. Texas state did not have an elaborating disclosure system until June 20, 2003, when the state government enacted into law legislation (Valenzuela, 2019).  The enactment is unique to the needs of Texas despite having subtle similarities with other level legislations. The vital component of the law is the requirement that practitioners at mental hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers enter a detailed entry of medical errors. The strategy is beneficial as it can increase surveillance of practitioners making frequent errors and the intensity of the mistakes to take legal action (Rodziewicz & Hipskind, 2020). This can be adapted to detect and punish practitioners responsible for rampant negligence and other mistakes. The strategy may reveal impostor practitioners who have entered the profession with no prerequisite qualifications, under-training, and even quasi-practitioners. The healthcare industry should emphasize the recording to deal with cases at the court level and to underscore the seriousness with which medical errors are treated. Such a strategy can improve the practitioner’s attention and reduce cases of deaths and other drug reactions detrimental to the patient’s health.

Strategies for Decision-Making and Disclose of Error

The approach to an issue is guided by the values of integrity and honesty, which determine how to conduct professional ethics and standards of behavior, and professional codes and ethics are the most crucial techniques for handling the situation. Ethics is an action based on the rule of law, independent of the repercussions to the actor and recipient of the work as defined by Kantian deontology principles (Barrow & Khandhar, 2019). For this case, state law requires reporting the scenario. One would file a report on medical errors as per the ethical principles. The way doctors relate with patients is defined by the code of conduct for instance, implementing the code of well-doing under all circumstances and responding to the scenario would require entering a report and fast-tracking the child to ensure the treatment has been managed.

The Process of Writing Prescriptions

The practitioner and the pharmacist must consider the laboratory reports and the patient’s demographic features before prescribing drugs. Analyses of the variable describe the dosage and the type of drug the prescriber gives to the patient. Reexamining the prescription is recommended in order to ensure it meets the patient’s needs (Sheldon et al., 2020). All prescribers must consider the patient’s ideas, concerns, and expectations. It would also be appropriate for them to adhere to national guidelines and local formularies and write unambiguous legal prescriptions using the correct documentation. The practitioner should stand at a chance of accepting faults in cases where they may lack knowledge or experience on the prescription, and this can limit drug errors resulting from amour proper.


It is equitable unusual for nurse practitioners to make errors in the healthcare setting, while some mistakes have severe repercussions for the practitioners’ professional practice and the health of their patients. In adults, medication errors can include a wide range of insinuation for the patient, the family, the healthcare facility, and the practitioners. During such failures, the most essential ethical thing to carry on is to admit the fault and strive to mitigate the repercussions. Identifying and eliminating the nub causes of prescription mistakes is essential to ensure they do not happen in the first place. Examining the test results and the patient’s demographic and health characteristics before prescribing medicines would be essential for the practitioner and the pharmacist as they are analyzed to determine the amount and the type of medication to be given to the patient. Reexamining the prescription is also appropriate to confirm that it meets the patient’s needs. In cases where the practitioner lacks knowledge or experience with the prescription, they should overlook mistakes; hence, medication errors due to amour proper would minimize.














Barrow, J. M., & Khandhar, P. B. (2019). Research ethics. StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL).

Beer, N., Hegger, I., Kaae, S., De Bruin, M. L., Genina, N., Alves, T. L., … & Sporrong, S. K. (2021). Scenarios for 3D printing of personalized medicines-A case study. Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy4, 100073.

Rodziewicz, T. L., & Hipskind, J. E. (2020). Medical error prevention. StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

Shanthanna, H., Strand, N. H., Provenzano, D. A., Lobo, C. A., Eldabe, S., Bhatia, A., … & Narouze, S. (2020). Caring for patients with pain during the COVID‐19 pandemic: consensus recommendations from an international expert panel. Anaesthesia75(7), 935-944.

Sheldon, R. R., Weiss, J. B., Do, W. S., Forte, D. M., Carter, P. L., Eckert, M. J., & Sohn, V. Y. (2020). Stemming the tide of opioid addiction—dramatic reductions in postoperative opioid requirements through preoperative education and a standardized analgesic regimen. Military medicine185(3-4), 436-443.

Valenzuela, A. (2019). The struggle to decolonize official knowledge in Texas’ state curriculum: Side-stepping the colonial matrix of power. Equity & Excellence in Education52(2-3), 197-215.

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