As a pharmacist, you must constantly be on the alert for situations involving the abuse or diversion of prescription drugs, and controlled substances in particular.
Fraudulent prescriptions appear in many forms. If you dispense such a prescription, your license as a pharmacist could be on the line.
How fraudulent prescriptions occur
Someone may steal a prescription pad from a provider’s office and use it to write a prescription for a fictitious patient. On the other hand, a patient may alter a legitimate prescription in order to obtain more of a particular drug. Perpetrators also use computers to make changes to legitimate prescriptions.
A look at forged prescriptions
A supposedly legitimate prescription might raise questions for various reasons:
- The handwriting is too legible, making the script look “too good”
- The prescription looks to be a photocopy
- The script does not comply with acceptable abbreviation standards
- There are no abbreviations—the instructions are written in full
- There are different ink colors
- Directions, quantities or dosages differ from standard medical usage
When to act
You should be suspicious of customers you do not recognize who begin to appear at your pharmacy with prescriptions from the same doctor. Contact the prescriber for clarification or verification if you have any doubts or questions about a particular prescription. If you have already dispensed a possibly fraudulent prescription or controlled substance, it is time to go to the next level. As soon as you suspect an investigation into the sale of fraudulent subscriptions from your pharmacy is underway, professional guidance becomes essential. Your license as a pharmacist could be at stake.