SUNDAY MIRROR INVESTIGATES FAKE PRECRIPTION SCANDAL: DESPICAPILL; I Write out Bogus Prescriptions and Pharmacists Hand over Danger Drugs

Sunday Mirror (London, England), November 27, 2005 | Go to article overview

SUNDAY MIRROR INVESTIGATES FAKE PRECRIPTION SCANDAL: DESPICAPILL; I Write out Bogus Prescriptions and Pharmacists Hand over Danger Drugs


Byline: By BEN HARVEY & DAILE PEPPER

ALL it took was some blank A4 paper, the name of a drug and five minutes on the internet, and one hour later I had a bag full of Temazepam, Viagra and a super-strength version of the opiate Codeine.

Shockingly, my "dealers" were not pushers on dodgy street corners - they were respectable pharmacists who gave me the controlled drugs after I handed them fake prescriptions I had written myself.

The alarming lapses were last night branded a scandal by health watchdogs and the General Medical Council said it was "extremely concerned".

I was staggered at how easy it was to dupe pharmacists into handing over the drugs. It took just minutes to choose a private GP and find her doctor's registration number on the General Medical Council's website. I then made up an address and scribbled the bogus contact details on an A4 sheet.

I also listed the name and address of the "patient" and finished off the prescription with the name of a drug and a squiggled signature. That was all I needed to persuade six chemists to hand me the controlled drugs.

Guidelines from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain state that: "Pharmacists presented with any prescription must take all steps necessary to satisfy themselves that the prescriber is genuine."

But not one of the pharmacists I visited did this, even though my plain paper should have triggered alarm bells - especially if a signature was unfamiliar.

The first chemist I visited, Round The Clock Pharmacy in Richmond, Surrey, handed over a pounds 10.52 vial of the powerful contraceptive injection Depo-Provera after inspecting the prescription for a few seconds.

Minutes later I was sold 100 Co-Codamol capsules - Class B drugs which you can be jailed if you possess in large quantities - at the nearby Richmond Pharmacy. Again no questions were asked when I handed over the pounds 11.62 charge.

The chemist at Curd Ltd, on South Street, Isleworth, gave me the tranquilliser Temazepam, pausing only to ask me whether the script was intended "just for tonight". When I replied it was, the pharmacist handed over the pounds 4 tablets.

In Hounslow, at Crystal Pharmacy, it took five minutes and pounds 25.92 for the chemist to hand me the impotence drug Viagra - popular with clubbers who use it in conjunction with party drugs like ecstasy.

Minutes later at Boots on Hounslow High Street I bought 24 Codeine Phosphate tablets for pounds 4. …

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SUNDAY MIRROR INVESTIGATES FAKE PRECRIPTION SCANDAL: DESPICAPILL; I Write out Bogus Prescriptions and Pharmacists Hand over Danger Drugs
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