Assignment 2: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

Assignment 2: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs


The scenario involves a nurse practitioner being requested by a friend to prescribe medication. However, even though the practitioner does not have the friend’s complete medical history, the NP goes ahead and writes the prescription. According to Cooper & Fitzpatrick (2021), a medication prescription is not supposed to be written without complete health history and physical examination. Writing prescriptions should be done according to the medical history of the patient, including past and current medications, as well as diagnosis. It is also important for the prescriber to first perform a risk-to-benefit analysis prior to writing a prescription (Cooper & Fitzpatrick, 2021). Therefore, advanced practice nurses need to be aware of the responsibilities allied to prescribing drugs. This paper will provide an analysis of the legal and ethical implications in the provided scenario.

Ethical and Legal Implications and Relevant Stakeholders

States regulate and control prescriptive practices and depending on the state, an N

Assignment 2 Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

Assignment 2 Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

P writing a prescription without performing the required tests, physical examination, and gathering medical history may be liable for unprofessional conduct, leading to legal implications like omission (Peterson, 2017). Therefore, an NP prescribing for a friend without a medical history may have some legal implications because the NP may not know the patient’s allergies and current medications; this may result in adverse reactions, which can lead to patient harm (Halli-Tierney et al., 2019). NPs also have the ethical duty to prescribe correctly, which is possible through physical examination, collecting medical history, and assessment. Moreover, prescribing to friends and family without documentation may result in legal implications in case of patient harm (Coombes et al., 2020). The patient and the family are also involved as they can take legal action if the prescription caused harm to the patient. The pharmacist is also involved in the scenario. When filling and dispensing the prescription, the pharmacist has the duty of checking the prescriptions before dispensing and filling the medication to patients in order to make sure the patient receives the correct prescription.

Click here to ORDER an A++ paper from our MASTERS and DOCTORATE WRITERS: Assignment 2: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

Strategies to Address Disclosure and Nondisclosure

Health practitioners recognize medical errors occur during practice. As a result, there are established processes to

Assignment 2 Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

Assignment 2 Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

prevent and report medical errors. The state government passed HB 1614 (Quality and patient safety, n.d). legislation that requires medical practitioners to have a detailed entry of medical error incidents (Gracia et al., 2019). This strategy ensures surveillance of medical practitioners who make medical errors frequently and the intensity of the errors leading to legal actions. This strategy can be implemented to identify and take disciplinary action against practitioners who are rampant in medical errors, negligence, and other errors. The strategy also helps to identify quack practitioners (Gracia et al., 2019). The second strategy is to obligate healthcare practitioners to document medical errors and implement legal frameworks to handle court cases (Gracia et al., 2019). This strategy can improve the cautiousness among healthcare practitioners and minimize medical errors and the resulting adverse events.

Strategies for Decision Making

The response to this scenario should be guided by the principles of honesty and integrity. These principles guide an individual when it comes to adhering to the codes of conduct and professional ethics. Therefore, codes of conduct and ethics can effectively guide the response to this scenario. For example, Kantian deontology requires individuals to base their actions on the rule of law, irrespective of the consequences to both the recipient and the actor (Suri et al., 2020). Therefore, in this scenario, it is appropriate to report the incident because this is what the state law requires. Therefore, this incident should be reported as per ethical principles. It is also important for the NP to follow up with the patient to establish if any adverse event occurred after prescribing the medication without physical assessment and the required history.

The Process of Writing Prescriptions

It is important for the nurse practitioner to have the required health history, medication history, patient information, and laboratory findings before prescribing medications. This information helps the prescriber to know the type of medication and dosage of the medication, as well as the route of administration (Cooper, & Fitzpatrick, 2021). The pharmacist also needs to have an overview of this patient information in order to ensure the correct dispensing of medication.


Prescribing of medications should not be done without the complete patient’s health information. This is because a lack of vital information such as allergies, diagnosis, and current medications could lead to adverse effects and patient harm. As a result, can result in the violation of both legal and ethical prerequisites, resulting in legal implications on such a prescriber.


Coombes, I., Markwell, A., Kubler, P., Redmond, A. M., McGurk, G., & Roberts, J. A. (2020). Principles of ethical prescribing for self and others: hydroxychloroquine in the COVID-19 pandemic. Australian prescriber, 43(3), 76–77.

Cooper, S. M., & Fitzpatrick, R. W. (2021). Implementation and evaluation of a good prescribing tip email to reduce junior doctors’ prescribing errors. Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management, 26(5), 214-220.

Gracia, J. E., Serrano, R. B., & Garrido, J. F. (2019). Medication errors and drug knowledge gaps among critical-care nurses: a mixed multi-method study. BMC health services research, 19(1), 1-9.

Halli-Tierney, A. D., Scarbrough, C., & Carroll, D. (2019). Polypharmacy: evaluating risks and deprescribing. American family physician, 100(1), 32-38.

Peterson M. E. (2017). Barriers to Practice and the Impact on Health Care: A Nurse Practitioner Focus. Journal of the advanced practitioner in oncology, 8(1), 74–81.