The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission recently became aware that a group of individuals are targeting community pharmacies in Washington to obtain large amounts of oxycodone and other controlled substances through the use of forged prescriptions.
The Washington State Department of Health recently published the following information regarding forged prescriptions in community pharmacies:
The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission recently became aware that a group of individuals are targeting community pharmacies in Washington to obtain large amounts of oxycodone and other controlled substances through the use of forged prescriptions. Pharmacies have received phone calls from individuals claiming to be from doctors’ offices or other pharmacies. The caller will use the real name of a pharmacist at another pharmacy or may impersonate a real person at a doctors’ office.
The individuals may state that they have a verified patient who has a prescription for a medication (usually oxycodone) that is out of stock at another pharmacy. The individual will usually state that they are sending the patient over with the hard copy of the prescription. Generally, a query of the prescription monitoring program will show existing history for the medication under the patient named on the prescription. Additionally, the prescriptions are written under the names of real people, many with valid and legitimate insurance, whose personal information has likely been compromised. The patient’s address is usually a real address near the pharmacy.
The forged prescriptions are generally very detailed and are printed on Micro Format Inc. 8 ½ by 11 inch prescription paper. The prescriptions are often for #180 oxycodone 15mg or 30mg and appear to be prescribed by pain clinic physicians or oncologists. The prescriptions may also contain writing that creates an assumption that a previous pharmacist already verified the prescription with the prescriber and may state “checked PMP” or “early refill ok.”
The individuals usually work in pairs and one may stand near the pharmacy observing. Generally, an individual other than the person named on the prescription will pick up the order, usually at busy times during the night and weekends, and may present an insurance card or pay with cash and a discount card.
Pharmacy Required Actions
Pharmacy staff should not rely solely on the PMP to verify the legitimacy of a prescription, but should continue to use their professional judgment to further validate prescriptions prior to dispensing. Additionally, a red flag should be raised when a prescription is received for Oxycodone 30mg in a quantity over 100, in this event, prescribers or the previous pharmacy should be called.
If you or staff at your pharmacy are presented with this type of situation, it is best practice to verify the prescription by calling the prescriber listed on the prescription. Please notify local law enforcement if you or your staff encounter what you believe to be a fraudulent prescription.
Continue to check the PMP to ensure the prescriptions dispensed were valid prescriptions written by you. If you need assistance accessing the PMP, please contact email@example.com
or (360) 236-4806.
While the information presented in this alert is specific to one situation, it is always important to be on the lookout and frequently review the Challenges and Red Flag Warning Signs Related to Prescribing and Dispensing Controlled Substances
that is compiled by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.