Pharmacists and forged prescriptions

How do pharmacists know whether a prescription is legitimate or something printed from someone’s PC and filled in by the “patient”? They obviously don’t have the time or personnel to check each prescription with the doctor before filling it.

They have several ways.
They tend to recognize local doctor’s handwritting, so if something signed by Dr Wagner up the road, doesn’t quite look like his handwritting, that’s a start. Stupid mistakes would be another way, for example a script for Vicodin but without the strength would be a big red flag or an obscene amount, say, 300. Also Scheduled drugs can’t have refils, so if it has refills on it, that would be a problem. The scripts always have a phone number on them, so the pharmacist can always make a call. I used to have a script for Adderall, my doctor had me take 2 twice a day, that’s about 120 pills a month, of a very sought after pill. My pharmacists tended to call the doctor before filling those. Many times they pills ‘wouldn’t be ready until tomarrow’ but that’s usually because it was after office hours and they wanted to check it out with the doctor before filling it. As for not having the time to check each one, don’t forget, very few people are going to forge a perscription for an antibiotic cream or high dose Ibuprofen, they really only need to worry about Scheduled drugs, and even then I’d imagine alot of the common methods for forgery are pretty easy to catch, and most can be checked out with just a call.

If the pharmacist has been working in the same place for more than a year or so, there’s a good chance s/he can recognize who’s been there before and who’s new. I used to work as a cashier at a small neighborhood pharmacy, and it wasn’t too long before I could look though the racks of bagged prescriptions and put a face to just about every one of the names. At a big place with many pharmacists, it may be easier to slip in unnoticed.

However, everyone who brings in a prescription gets their information entered in the store’s computer. Since, in my experience, most prescriptions were refills or returning customers, a new customer will attract notice just for being new. A new customer bringing in a scrip for something heavy duty will attract a lot of notice. Even if the person passes the sniff tests that Joey P mentioned and gets the pills, the pharmacist will probably flag their name with a note saying “keep an eye on this one.”

Do existing customers ever try to bring in a phony scrip? Sure. Do they get caught? Yep. Do they then come back and try it again even though every employee recognizes them as soon as they come in? Has drug addiction ever been found to increase intelligence?

Oh, and all these things are based on a stolen Rx pad, of course people will try to print them out themselves. If they try to make up info, one of the things they’ll most likely miss is the DEA number. I don’t remember if off hand, but IIRC there’s a formula worked into it just to give the pharmacist a quick way to find out if it’s real. Something about adding up every other number and the if that numbers even, a certain number shows up somewhere else in it. I don’t remember exactly, but it was a kind of checksum I think.

You are correct in theory, but you have used a bad example. Vicodin is a combination drug (hydrocodone and tylenol) with a usual strength of 5mg and 500mg correspondingly. Typically the only time an MD would indicate the strength of Vicodin on a script is if it for a non-typical strength (say 7.5mg/750mg). If a pharmacist receives a script written for vicodin and no strength, this is very acceptable and he is required to dispense the 5/500 strength by default.

Also, pursuant to federal law, only Schedule II (ie Adderall) are non-refillable. Schedule III, IV and V drugs are refillable up to 6 months.

Typically, 50-60 percent of scripts a pharmacist sees (assuming tenure) will be written by a provider with whose signature he is familiar (as you mentioned). In most of the other instances, absent a glaring error, the script is filled on faith.

I know this post is fairly old, but I needed some advice. I know the first thing that will come to mind is “don’t do it” so I don’t need that advice ha.

I have been on prescription Adderall on and off for around 3-5 years. I take my scripts to the same place and sometimes will get scripts filled early due to a change in dosage. My doctor gave me a blank script by accident which I have filled out for a regular monthly prescription. I am 98% sure I am not going to try and get it filled as you go to jail and get fined a hefty sum along with a felony charge. I am just wondering if it where possible to actually get away with it just once. I’m not going to get anymore blank scripts anytime soon. Everywhere I have found online, people are caught, or talking about how they got caught… I was just curious as to my chances of success since I’ve been getting the script filled at the same place for so long. I’m assuming they would still call it in but I don’t know.


Zombies on drugs. Closed.

samclem MOderator.