Monday, February 18, 2013

The Prescription Abuse Game

I've only worked about half my career in retail pharmacy (started in hospital) so I always thought of myself as a neophyte when it came to fake prescriptions, phony call-ins and other forms of drug diversion.  I'm sure I've been fooled more than once.  I'm not sure how many occurrences most pharmacists would say they have in a typical week, but I seem to have encountered a cluster.

We had one guy come in -- never filled with us before and wanted to pay cash for his Percocet prescription ( I wasn't too familiar with the doctor, either.)  Of course even for me this was a red flag
and a check of the state's monitoring website revealed a long string of Percocet prescriptions, some filled literally right on top of each other.  The most recent was 4 days earlier for an even larger quantity.
Sent him away and he was not a happy camper.  I don't really care what he's doing with it,  probably selling it, but it's irritating as hell and a waste of my time.  I contacted the doctor's office, sent them a copy of the State information, and never heard anything back.

I've also encountered a string of 'lost' prescriptions claims -- 'lost' on vacation, 'accidentally' threw it away, lost my purse, etc. etc. etc.   I wish every prescriber would make it clear from the outset that they will not replace lost or stolen prescriptions without a police report.  I can't believe how accommodating some of these doctors are.

Also recently became aware of someone calling in her own prescriptions -- she was pretty good but it never sounded completely right to me and I am mad at myself and the rest of our staff that no one thought to take the time to verify it.

I guess it's just irritating to be played for a fool.  We're hammered with the principles of customer service and being nice to everyone and I feel like these drug seekers are probably laughing all the way out the door.  I know this isn't news to any experienced retail pharmacist out there, but just had to get it off my chest.


Grumpy, M.D. said...

I've been burned, too. And likely will be again. It happens to the best of us, regardless of what part of the system we work in.

pharmacy chick said...

Our best yet was a guy who took us for probably a thousand percocet over a year. He had the computer program down to a science..even had the doc signature faked amazingly well. His boo boo? centering the computer generated rX, when everything from the office came in the upper left hand corner. I dont know why it took so long to figure it out, but we eventually did.

Unknown said...

We had a patient's wife call in prescriptions for her husband to the pharmacy, because she didn't want to pay for him to actually be seen by us, and we wouldn't refill his meds until we'd actually seen him and made sure continuing his medications was appropriate. The pharmacist called us and let us know - apparently the call was quite funny, as she couldn't pronounce half the names, and left out half the details of the prescriptions. She was SHOCKED that we weren't OK with her doing that.

lasermed said...

The police report thingie only means that they took the time to speak with a member of our esteemed law enforcement community, not that they actually lost their pills. In my county, the cops stopped giving reports because most of them were scams.

goose said...

What do you do though when it's some elderly person and their child or grandchild has stolen their meds and they don't want to get them in trouble?
I know people that deliberately play that angle.
We also had a couple one time who I was pretty sure was abusing their kids to get pain meds prescribed by the ER doctors. When I figured that one out, I took the "Dad" aside and said that if I ever saw his kid on our computer system again for pain meds, (I worked for CVS), he has better be on his way out of town because I would be knocking on his door with a few friends.
He said he was going to report me to corporate, I handed him the damn phone and my DM's phone number and said: "Let's call him right now." I was so mad I had to hold myself back from jumping him right in the store.
I hate pillheads.