WV pharmacy board reporting ‘doctor shoppers’ to authorities

September 18, 2014

The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy has created a list of suspected “doctor shoppers” and given it to law enforcement officials, according to a report in the Charleston Gazette.

The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy has created a list of suspected “doctor shoppers” and given it to law enforcement officials, according to a report in the Charleston Gazette.

The list includes 90 people who sought an excessive number of painkiller scripts over the past year. It was provided to the West Virginia State Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rate in the country.

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One person on the list received painkiller scripts from 34 doctors, according to the report. Others obtained prescriptions from different doctors in different areas of the state. The list was created by analyzing the state’s controlled-substances database. No arrests have been made yet.

“You have someone on a 30-day supply, and then they’re getting two or three other prescriptions in the same month,” Mike Goff, a pharmacy board administrator, told the newspaper. “Those are the ones who are the clear problems, the ones law enforcement will look at further.”

 

David Potters, the pharmacy board’s executive director, said some of the people on the list might have legitimate reasons for securing painkiller scripts from more than one doctor. He said law enforcement officials will interview pharmacists and medical professionals before making any arrests.

“The doctor-shopping crime happens when a patient tells a doctor, ‘my back is hurting, and I need this medication, and, no I haven’t seen any other doctors but you,’” Goff said. “The patient is misleading the doctor in trying to get pills. They’re hitting up multiple doctors and lying to them to get prescriptions.”

The board has also sent 2,800 letters to medical professionals across West Virginia that warn them of specific patients have obtained multiple prescriptions from various medical professionals.

“We said, ‘Here’s your patient. You wrote them a prescription, and so did 11 other people,’” Goff told the newspaper. “We’re telling them they need to register [for the state’s controlled-substances database], and there’s been a big influx of sign-ups after the letters went out. The letters have prompted a lot of them to comply.”