When some people think about fraud involving prescription medications, they may think about pharmacists as being involved in these events. While a pharmacist may play a notable role in a person’s ability to obtain a prescription medication, fraud may be introduced by parties other than the pharmacist.
Identifying signs of potential problems or fraud may benefit a pharmacist, pharmacy technician or any person working in a pharmacy.
Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program allows health care professionals to search for information about an individual patient. This information may expose clues relating to potential misuse of prescription medications or other fraudulent activities, making the PDMP important for medical professionals in Pennsylvania.
Red flag behaviors
Blue Cross Blue Shield indicates that prescription drug fraud may begin with the individual patient or even a prescribing physician or provider. Pharmacists may notice concerning signs like a person with a prescription from one physician for a stimulant and a prescription from another physician for a depressant. These two drugs may counteract each other and even open the door to medical complications.
Pharmacists may commonly receive prescriptions for the same medications, allowing them to learn the normal prescribing patterns for specific drugs. Prescriptions written for unusually large doses or quantities may also raise alerts or concerns to a pharmacist, especially if these prescriptions provide access to drugs known to be highly addictive or dangerous, such as opioids. Visual cues of fraud such as inconsistent handwriting or potentially altered physical prescriptions may suggest potential forgery or other problems related to a prescription.