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Prescription fraud and misuse rising

This post is in response to a recent article highlighting the rise of prescription fraud. I wanted to highlight some important aspects of the article.

Frequent incidences of prescription drug abuse:
1. Doctor shopping – hopping from doctor to doctor in order to receive medication and deceive the doctor. Patients also go doctor shopping to find a doctor that will “address” all their prescription needs i.e. over prescribing.
2. Manually changing the dose of the prescription. Example: If the prescription is written for 25 pills, they might add a 1 in front of it to make it 125 or a 0 at the end to make it 250.
3. Medical identity theft – stealing a victim’s insurance card and obtaining prescriptions under the victim’s name.
4. Inside cooperation – stealing a doctor’s prescription pad and writing prescriptions.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It just gives you a clue to the types of abuse occurring.

What are Pharmaceutical companies doing?
1. Making pills tamperproof – meaning that if they’re crushed for a stronger, more rapid high they become ineffective.
2. Patient medication guides explaining the exact purpose of the drugs and the consequences of misuse.
3. Letters to doctors and additional physician training to end the misuse and inappropriate prescribing of painkillers.

Those last 2 strategies are debatable, but they are necessary steps that need to be taken to combat prescription drug addiction.

How can providers combat the misuse?
1. Electronic health records can help combat this problem. The physician would be able to see that the patient has seen an abnormal amount of doctors and see what the patient was prescribed – eliminating the ability for a patient to be over prescribed.
2. Stop over prescribing – simple as that.
3. Understand the warning signs of users.

Read the full article here.

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One Response to “Prescription fraud and misuse rising”

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