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What constitutes prescription fraud?

Prescription fraud is generally considered the act of an individual acquiring controlled drugs or a physician prescribing controlled substance without a legitimate medical reason. A controlled substance may be a stimulant, opiate or depressant. Some examples of drugs that are considered controlled substances include, hydrocodone, Valuium, Darvocet, morphine and oxycodone.

Although there are several ways that prescription fraud is committed, one of the most popular ways is by a practice known as “doctor shopping.” Since doctors can only prescribe a certain amount of medication to a patient, individuals committing prescription fraud by doctor shopping will typically visit several different doctors in an attempt to obtain the same type of medication. This becomes criminal fraud when you fail to notify the doctor you are visiting that you already have a prescription for the medication or a prescription that is considered similar to what you are already taking.

While doctor shopping is perhaps the most common type of prescription fraud, committing forgery to obtain prescriptions is another popular way too. Individuals may steal a physician’s prescription pad and write out their own prescriptions. They may use a computer to actually create a fake prescription or even impersonate a medical professional and call in a prescription to a pharmacy while using their own telephone numbers as the number to call back for verification.

In some cases, it may not be the patient who is directly committing prescription fraud but the physician instead. This generally occurs if a physician writes a prescription that is not typically within the doctor’s area of practice or knowingly writes a prescription for a patient that is not for a valid medical reason.

Assistance from an experienced Wisconsin criminal attorney could be beneficial for those who are facing drug crimes. Because the penalties for such charges are so severe, it is important to have a strong defense strategy in place.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, “A Pharmacist’s Guide to Prescription Fraud” Sep. 08, 2014

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