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New Law Cracks Down on Prescription Fraud

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

January 11, 2018

The opioid epidemic was firmly in the sights of lawmakers when they passed a new law that went into effect on January 1st of this year. This new law aims to reduce this problem, and in doing so it will also crack down on prescription fraud, a serious crime that’s well-associated with the opioid epidemic and painkiller addiction.

Changing Prescription Terms

Under this new law, prescribing painkillers is now a much more meticulous procedure for doctors. Any new prescriptions, which the law defines as any patient who has not been given a prescription for that particular drug within a year, may only be prescribed a five-day supply. After four days, doctors may then write a prescription for up to a maximum of a 30 day supply.

Lawmakers are hoping that this by forcing patients to go back to their doctors to be reevaluated, doctors will be able to spot signs of opioid addiction and adjust treatment as necessary. This should also cut down on the number of people who try to see a new doctor in hopes of being able to get someone to write them a prescription (a practice known as “doctor shopping” that is against the law).

Curbing Prescription Fraud

While the law was intended to crack down on addiction to painkillers, these new regulations should also have a significant impact on prescription fraud. When a doctor writes you a prescription, they are saying that they authorize you to purchase a “controlled substance” (the drug you need) in a certain amount as well as carry and consume it. This authorization is granted to them by obtaining a license to practice medicine from the state. However, without this authorization, obtaining a controlled substance or attempting to obtain one is against the law.

Prescription fraud is the act of trying to misuse the doctor’s prescription system to obtain a “controlled substance,” such as painkillers. Some common examples of prescription fraud include misrepresenting your condition to try and convince a doctor to write you a prescription, attempting to misrepresent yourself as a doctor to try and obtain a controlled substance, or even stealing a doctor’s prescription pads to write your own prescription and then trying to have it filled at a pharmacy.

Under this new law, both doctors and pharmacists will have a much easier time spotting potential prescription fraud attempts, particularly when patients try to misrepresent their own prescriptions to obtain does they are not authorized for. This should de-incentivize people from attempting to make these illegitimate attempts to obtain a controlled substance.

Prescription fraud is usually considered a felony crime in Florida, with many different variants falling under the third-degree felony classification. That means those convicted of prescription drug fraud could face up to five years in prison and pay a fine of up to $5,000. Doctors found to be aiding their patients in obtaining medications fraudulently could also face criminal consequences and risk losing their license to practice medicine.

If you find yourself facing charges of prescription drug fraud, don’t hesitate to speak with a Daytona Beach drug crimes lawyer who has your best interests at heart. Call Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today at (386) 693-1637 to request a case evaluation and start fighting for your rights!