DEA Guidelines to Prescription Fraud

Posted in Latest News on June 12, 2013.

Pharmacist’s Guide to Prescription Fraud

The purpose of this guide is to ensure that controlled substances continue to be available for legitimate medical and scientific purposes while preventing diversion into the illicit market. It is not the intent of this publication to discourage or prohibit the use of controlled substances where medically indicated. However, nothing in this guide should be construed as authorizing or permitting any person to conduct any act that is not authorized or permitted under federal or state laws.

Pharmacist’s Responsibilities

The abuse of prescription drugs—especially controlled substances—is a serious social and health problem in the United States today. As a healthcare professional, pharmacists share responsibility for preventing prescription drug abuse and diversion.

  • Pharmacists have a personal responsibility to protect their practice from becoming an easy target for drug diversion. They need to know of the potential situations where drug diversion can occur, and establish safeguards to prevent drug diversion.
  • The dispensing pharmacist must maintain a constant vigilance against forged or altered prescriptions. The CSA holds the pharmacist responsible for knowingly dispensing a prescription that was not issued in the usual course of professional treatment.

Types of Fraudulent Prescriptions

Pharmacists should be aware of the various kinds of forged prescriptions that may be presented for dispensing. Some patients, in an effort to obtain additional amounts of legitimately prescribed drugs, alter the practitioner’s prescription. They may have prescription pads printed using a legitimate doctor’s name, but with a different call back number that is answered by an accomplice to verify the prescription. Drug seeking individuals may also call in their own prescriptions and give their own telephone number as a call-back for confirmation. Drug abusers sometimes steal legitimate prescription pads from practitioner’s offices and/or hospitals and prescriptions are written using fictitious patient names and addresses.



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