Magazine article Drug Topics

How to Spot and Handle Fake Rxs

Magazine article Drug Topics

How to Spot and Handle Fake Rxs

Article excerpt

In my 20 years of practice, I have come across many forged, altered, or otherwise illegally reproduced prescriptions. So I've accumulated some experience in spotting real versus phony prescriptions. I'm sharing my experience with you so you won't be duped.

Look for patterns that the forgery artist may use, like showing up consistently at the pharmacy on the same day of the week. I once encountered a man who presented a prescription for Darvocet N 100 (acetaminophen/propoxyphene napsylate, Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals) to me on three consecutive Sunday mornings. In each case, I asked him for his address. By the third time, I recognized the man and remembered that he had come twice before. I dug out the hard copies of each prescription and noticed that the man had given me three different house numbers on the same street!

Sometimes the crooks slip up in other ways. A man presented a prescription for Vicodin ES with his hand and wrist nicely bandaged up. He said he had cut his hand in an accident at work. I was attempting to fill the prescription when I noticed it was written by a cardiologist. That blank was obviously stolen.

Another way to tell if an Rx is a sham is by the directions on the order. If an Rx for OxyContin (oxycodone HCl, Purdue Pharma) shows up with "q4h" written down, there may be a problem. I once nailed a faux Rx because the directions read "1 q BID."

What should you do when you believe a prescription is bogus? Several methods may be implemented, and every one of these tactics has been successful in my experience. In one case, I simply picked up the telephone, acted as if I were dialing, and in a voice loud enough for the perpetrator to hear, I stated, "Yes, officer, I would like to report an illegal drug transaction." Seconds later, I looked up and the culprit was gone.

In another case, I looked at the con artist and asked, "Do you want to leave the store quietly, or do you want me to get the police involved?" The result was the same. Another tactic if your store has an internal public address system is to go on and state, "In-store security, please report to the pharmacy." The impostor will disappear if he is guilty.

There are other techniques you can use to fend off charlatans. …

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