Reports of the United States’ prescription drug overdose epidemic abound in news media. In an effort to curb this epidemic, several entities have been subject to lawsuits, including pharmaceutical manufacturers and doctors. However, pharmacists remain protected in the majority of jurisdictions by a restricted professional standard of care. The pharmacist’s professional standard of care in New Mexico was a question of first impression when it reached the Court of Appeals in Oakey v. May Maple Pharmacy, but the case was remanded back to the district court so that each party’s expert could further develop a standard. Thus, the question is still open as to what exactly a pharmacist must do when confronted with signs of drug abuse. Strong policy considerations weigh in favor both for and against a heightened standard, but the language of Oakey and state regulation ultimately makes it clear that New Mexico counts itself among the minority of jurisdictions in the United States that requires a heightened professional standard of care for its pharmacists. This article explores the rationale behind requiring such a heightened standard and support for it found in state and federal law.

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