Finally, a Solution to Poor Physician Penmanship

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From the founding of the Republic, Americans have joked about the poor handwriting of physicians.  Well, all the Americans except the ones who got the wrong medicine because pharmacists misread handwritten prescriptions.

But now New York State has found a sure-fire cure for poor penmanship on prescription pads.  And like so many great ideas, it’s amazingly simple—in fact, blindingly obvious.  As of March 27, it’sillegal—against the law—for a physician to issue a handwritten prescription, subject to narrow exceptions such as emergencies.  And the ban is backed up by penalties that include fines and evenjail time.

The ban will certainly cut down on errors caused by poor penmanship.  But that’s just a beneficial side effect.  The real point of the ban is to reduce fraud that occurs when prescription pads are stolen or handwritten prescriptions are altered to increase the dosage or quantity of the prescribed drug.

So if you were planning to give a New York doctor a pen for Christmas, think again.