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Health Law Blog

Rhode Island pharmacy fined for fraudulent prescriptions

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), agreed to accept a fine from a national drug store chain due to filling fake prescriptions in Rhode Island. The fine came without an admission of liability from the company and amounted to over one half million dollars. The settlement does not disclose whether any pharmacies Arizona were involved. The pharmacy is headquartered in Rhode Island.

The fine comes from an investigation that showed the pharmacy had filled 39 separate prescriptions for Percocet. Fake or doctored prescriptions have become more common in recent years.

Less than 40% of prescribers complying with new prescription law

The state of Arizona has a law on the books that requires doctors to check a statewide database before they prescribe opioids or other controlled substances to patients. According to a report by the Arizona Department of Health Services, in December 2018, eight months after the law took effect, only 38% of doctors checked the database at least one time per month prior to prescribing a controlled substance. Part of the problem may be that there is little oversight.

An assistant director with the ADHS said it was primarily the responsibility of the physicians licensing boards, and the issue will not raise the attention of a medical board unless there is a complaint or other problem. The Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program was launched in 2009, but there was no effective law requiring doctors to use it until April 2018. The ADHS assistant director said the agency was aware of the low use rate but added that Arizona has made progress against the opioid epidemic in other ways.

Understanding the top 4 fraud and abuse laws

As a newly licensed pharmacist, you're ready to face the world, meet patients and help them on their paths to better health. You're also a shiny new target for pharmaceutical manufacturer representatives and others who value your ability to write prescriptions and make referrals.

It's no secret that some people in the health care industry have used shady methods to get doctors on their sides. To make sure you don't get drawn into any illegal activities, you should familiarize yourself with the health care industry's top four Federal fraud and abuse laws.

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