According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, more than five thousand people died in Pennsylvania in 2017 due to opioid overdoses. In the state's ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic, the state Attorney General's Office rolled out a new program in December to make it easier for medical professionals to report suspicious activity. Prescribers as well as members of the public can now tip off law enforcement if they suspect a patient or doctor is participating in illegal activity.
But, while the ability to pass along tips about suspected prescription fraud will likely make investigations easier, it also has the potential for abuse.
Tip line addition to PDMP
Prior to the addition of the tip function in December, medical professionals were already required to register with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and disclose relevant patient information. Failure to do so can lead to serious legal problems.
Now, medical professionals can send tips to law enforcement concerning suspected fraudulent prescriptions or other suspicious activity through the PDMP database. Members of the public can send tips as well, through the Attorney General's website. According to Attorney General Josh Shapiro, this new tip function will make it easier to identify and investigate illegal diversion of prescription pain pills.
What will you do if someone files a tip about you?
While the new tip system will certainly make it easier for professionals to report suspicious activity by patients, it also presents an opportunity for someone to file a false tip. Whether it comes from a disgruntled patient or a professional seeking to throw suspicion away from themselves, medical professionals in Pennsylvania should have a plan in place to defend their reputation. Ensure your license is protected by talking to an attorney who specializes in medical license defense.