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New pharmacy rules in Illinois aim to improve patient safety

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CHICAGO _ Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has approved regulations that require pharmacists to counsel customers who seek to fill prescriptions for new medications or need changes to longtime prescriptions.

The higher counseling standard comes after a Chicago Tribune investigation in December revealed pharmacies frequently failed to warn customers about severe drug interactions. Pharmacies have been required only to offer to counsel customers.

The new rules require pharmacists to engage in “verbal counseling” before giving medication to a new patient or filling a regular prescription with changes in dosage, strength or directions.

The rules aim to improve customer safety. Customers will have the right to refuse counseling.

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Executive Director Carmen Catizone says the stricter counseling standard is “needed and long overdue.”