Since the price of prescription medication continues to increase, prescription drug fraud has become more common than ever before. While this type of drug crime relates to the abuse and addiction of prescription drugs, many people have committed this offense to either sell the drugs for a profit or obtain medication that cannot otherwise afford.
The most common ways individuals commit prescription drug fraud include:
- Visiting multiple doctors and not telling them about a recent visit to another doctor in order to obtain multiple prescriptions (i.e. doctor shopping).
- Misrepresenting or otherwise falsifying the facts about your illness, injury, or medical condition to a physician.
- Forging prescriptions by forging signatures, forging prescription pads, or forging labels.
- Altering prescriptions by changing the type of drug or prescription amount.
- Writing fake prescriptions, such as doctors writing a prescription without examining the patient or writing a prescription to a patient that is not under his/her care.
- Stealing prescription pads.
- Creating fake prescription pads using sophisticated technology and printing.
- Impersonating a medical professional to obtain prescriptions.
- Purchasing drugs online, especially generic versions that do not need a doctor’s prescription.
Although patients often commit prescription drug fraud, physicians are also typically charged with this crime due to issuing fraudulent, unusual, or illegitimate prescriptions. Furthermore, other healthcare providers such as nurses and pharmacists—who are in a good position to get their hands on prescription drugs—may obtain drugs while working or steal prescription pads from doctors to write illegal prescriptions for family and friends.
In Massachusetts, prescription drug fraud is considered a felony offense. A first offense is punishable by a maximum four-year state prison sentence and/or a fine no more than $20,000, while a second or subsequent offense carries a state prison term of up to eight years and/or a maximum $30,000 fine.
However, a defendant who is facing his/her first offense may qualify for a diversion program as an alternative to a long prison sentence and costly fines. If a defendant completes the program, his/her charges will be dismissed.
If you have been charged with prescription drug fraud in Boston, contact Brad Bailey Law today at (617) 500-0252 and request a confidential consultation to learn about all your legal options.