LLR-Board of Medical Examiners

Approved by the Board: February 7-10, 1999 Board meeting

Service Area: Medical

Subject: Prescribing for family members


While the Board recognizes that in certain instances a physician may need to prescribe medications for family members, the Board recognizes that such treatment may provide less than optimal care for a family member. Treatment of the immediate family members should be reserved for minor illnesses, temporary or emergency situations. Appropriate consultations should be obtained for the management of major or extended periods of illness.

State law requires the presence of a valid physician/patient relationship before any controlled substance can be prescribed. This relationship should include knowledge of the medical condition and an assessment of the benefit-risk ratio of the use of such substance. A practitioner cannot usually acquire a valid physician/patient relationship with himself or herself nor with a member of his or her immediate family for the purpose of prescribing controlled substances, due to the loss of objectivity in making the proper medical decisions.

The Board feels that prescribing controlled substances for family members is outside the scope of good medical practice in South Carolina except for a bona fide emergency situation where the health and safety of an individual may be at great detriment. A practitioner may prescribe limited amounts of controlled substances until such time as another objective practitioner can be contacted.

Appropriate records should be maintained for written prescriptions and/or administration of any Schedule II, III, IV, or V controlled substance.