Prescription fraud refers to any illegitimate use of a prescription to obtain medication. Prescribers who engage in such activity could face federal or state criminal charges and lose their medical licenses.
All medical professionals should understand the types of prescription fraud and the behaviors that could trigger an investigation.
What are common types of prescription fraud?
Doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals have a responsibility to avoid and prevent the misuse of prescriptions. These professionals need to watch for the following types of fraud:
- Stealing a prescription pad
- Altering a legitimate prescription
- Using false call back numbers to impersonate a doctor
- Creating fake prescriptions
Pharmacists that fill a prescription that they know is fake could face severe penalties.
Doctors engage in prescription fraud when they issue a prescription for a purpose that is not medically necessary. A doctor may provide a prescription for someone only to buy back the medication for personal use, or he or she could write a prescription in return for money.
What are examples of suspicious behaviors?
Certain common signs may cause state or federal authorities to investigate a prescriber. Suspicious behaviors include:
- Prescribing uncommonly large quantities of a medication
- Prescribing drugs that a patient should not take together
- Providing significantly more prescriptions than the average prescriber
- Writing many different prescriptions for a patient in a short period of time
Though certain activities may appear suspicious, that does not necessarily mean the prescriber is doing anything illegal or unethical. Even when wrongfully accused, a strong defense is still necessary to help ensure that the medical professional does not lose his or her license.