Prescription Fraud-What Is It?
Misrepresenting yourself to a doctor or pharmacist, doctor shopping, or being dishonest when obtaining controlled substances from a doctor or pharmacist are examples of prescription fraud. Physicians who prescribe drugs without a legitimate purpose may be accused of prescription fraud as well.
Controlled substances are drugs listed by the states or on the federal list of five drug classifications. These include opiates, depressants, and stimulants. Some of the drugs most commonly sought are morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, Valium, and Darvocet.
One of the more common practices of prescription fraud is doctor shopping. Doctors are limited to how much medication they can prescribe to patients. If you visit different doctors at different offices to obtain narcotics and fail to advise them that you are already taking medication or have other prescriptions, you are committing criminal fraud.
Chronic pain sufferers who are addicted to opiates or pain medication and need increasingly larger doses to obtain the same relief often use doctor shopping to obtain drugs. Hospital workers and nurses are common defendants in these cases because they are addicted or want to obtain drugs to sell to others.
Other Examples of Prescription Fraud
- Forging prescriptions on a stolen physician’s pad
- Use of computers to create fake prescriptions
- Impersonating medical staff to call in prescriptions and using own number as call-back confirmation
- Altering the drug quantity on a physician's prescription
A physician may face prescription fraud charges for issuing a prescription that is either outside the usual or normal course of the doctor’s practice, or for an illegitimate medical reason. Depending on which state you are prosecuted in, prescription fraud can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on prosecutorial discretion and whether the defendant intended to sell the narcotics.