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On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2022

Recent state efforts to combat doctor shopping

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2022 | Criminal Law

Thanks to prescription drugs, many people can fight off or at least manage the symptoms of an illness or some other health condition. However, Pennsylvania has been experiencing the problem of drug abuse, particularly of opioids. Some people are so desperate to acquire opioids that they will seek out multiple sources to accumulate the drugs.

State lawmakers are aware of this problem and have created a program, recently extended by the governor, to give doctors and pharmacies the power to find out if someone is visiting multiple doctors.

What to know about doctor shopping

Doctor shopping is a crime that involves going to more than one doctor to obtain prescriptions for a drug. Each doctor thinks he or she is the only one prescribing the medicine. This is because the patient refuses to inform the doctors about visits to other physicians.

A similar offense is pharmacy shopping. This is when a person visits multiple pharmacies to fill a prescription. Like doctor shopping, this helps someone accumulate a large amount of a prescription drug that the individual should not otherwise have.

The state doctor shopping program

According to the Times Observer, Pennsylvania lawmakers have instituted the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions program, which allows doctors, pharmacists and medical subscribers to use an electronic system to check a patient’s prescription drug history. This is to verify that a patient is not engaging in doctor shopping or pharmacy shopping.

Originally, the program was set to expire on June 30, 2022. However, Governor Tom Wolf has signed an extension that will keep the program running until December 31, 2028. This means that doctors will continue to have this tool available to track signs of opioid abuse.

While this program may help cut down on the number of people who abuse the medical system to acquire opioids, residents need to be sure that their medical history is accurate. This may avoid the problem of undue suspicion of doctor or pharmacy shopping.

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