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What Pharmacies Need to Know

Prescription fraud is a significant and growing problem.  Pharmacies are the number one target for obtaining prescription medication through the passing of fraudulent prescriptions, and they are more frequently becoming the targets of robberies and burglaries.  Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Xanax, and Vicodin are currently the most sought-after medications.

Pharmacists are the "gatekeepers" or last lines of defense against prescription fraud.  They should regularly check patients’ identification, verify doctors’ information, and use their experience and knowledge to judge when a patient’s behavior is suspicious or a prescription is fraudulent.

Fake, Altered or Stolen Prescriptions

  • Look for altered numbers on prescription or pill counts that seem excessive.
  • Know the prescriber and his/her signature.
  • Know the prescriber’s DEA number.
  • Telephone the prescriber for verification.
  • Check the date on the prescription; has been presented within a reasonable time?
  • The patient should give a plausible reason for any discrepancy before you dispense the drug.

Other indicators may include the following:

  • Large cash purchases for high dose, opiate prescriptions.
  • After-hours or weekend purchases.
  • Out-of-area doctors.
  • If you are in doubt, request proper identification, doing so increases offenders’ risk of getting caught.

Phoning In Prescriptions

  • Typically, offenders impersonating medical staff call in a prescription when the doctor’s office is closed.
  • Some offenders leave their own phone numbers for verification.
  • Offenders tend to act overly-friendly on the phone to give the impression they regularly call in prescriptions.
  • Another approach is to claim to be from out of town and to have forgotten to pack prescription drugs, or to claim to have lost the drugs from a legitimate prescription.

If you believe that you have discovered a pattern of prescription abuses, contact the state pharmacy board or the DEA.

If you believe a prescription is forged or altered, do not dispense it, call your local law enforcement.