How to Safeguard Against Prescription Fraud
Every year, thousands of people misuse prescriptions in order to obtain addictive prescription drugs. Pharmacists, doctors, and medical personnel must be aware of how prescription fraud occurs and what steps to take to prevent this fraud from occurring. Let’s take a closer look.
What is prescription fraud?
Prescription fraud can occur under many different forms. The general idea of prescription fraud is misrepresenting yourself to a doctor or pharmacist in order to obtain controlled substances (learn more from our blog here: http://www.paperrxsolutions.com/blogs/paper-rx-solutions-prescription-paper-and-pharmacy-blog/8325397-prescription-fraud-what-is-it).
This has become a serious problem in the United States in recent years, and the number of cases of prescription drug abuse continues to rise. In some cases, a legitimate prescription pad is stolen from a doctor’s office and prescriptions are written for fictitious patients, call back numbers may be changed, or abusers may create a copy of a prescription not written for them. These are just a few examples of prescription fraud.
What are the characteristics of prescription fraud?
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), characteristics of forged prescriptions may include:
- Prescription looks “too good;” the prescriber’s handwriting is too legible
- Quantities, directions or dosages differ from usual medical usage
- Prescription does not comply with the acceptable standard abbreviations or appears to be textbook presentations
- Prescriptions appear to be photocopied
- Directions written in full with no abbreviations
- Prescriptions written in different color inks or written in different handwriting
Other red flags for prescription fraud might include:
- The prescriber issues significantly more prescriptions (or in larger quantities) than other practitioners in your area.
- The patient returns too frequently. A prescription which should have lasted for a month if used legitimately is now being refilled on a bi-weekly, weekly, or potentially even daily basis.
- The prescriber issues a prescription for antagonistic drugs. For example, a prescription for depressants and stimulants at the same time. Drug abusers often write prescriptions for “uppers and downers” at the same time.
- A patient presents prescriptions written in the name of other people.
- A number of people appear simultaneously or within a short period of time, presenting similar prescriptions from the same physician.
- Numerous “strangers,” or people who are not regular patrons or residents of your community, suddenly show up with similar prescriptions from the same physician.
What can be done to prevent prescription fraud?
There are techniques that can be utilized in order to ensure the prescription presented is legal and truthful. One way is to take time to know the prescribers in your area and his or her signatures. This can be useful in spotting forged signatures that occur on stolen prescription pads. Furthermore, take time to know the prescriber’s DEA registration number which is required on all prescription forms. Also take time to know regular patients that walk through your practice, and be sure to check the date on the prescription order to see if it has been presented to you in a reasonable length of time since it was written.
What should be done if prescription fraud is found?
If you believe that the prescription presented to you has been forged, altered, or is a counterfeit prescription, do not dispense it. The DEA recommends that you call your local police. If you think that you see a pattern of prescription abuses, the State Board of Pharmacy and the local DEA offices are resources to turn to. Also make sure that your pharmacy staff is on board to help protect your practice from becoming a source for prescription drug diversion. By using common sense, sound professional practice, and proper dispensing procedures and controls, you can help ensure that patients are receiving the best medical care while helping to deter drug abusers.
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Article source: deadiversion.usdoj.gov | http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/brochures/pharmguide.htm