Don’t Fall for a Pill Shopping Scam

Ask any physician in Pennsylvania about prescription medication misuse and abuse and they’ll tell you it’s a national problem with the Keystone State one of the worst. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Report from November 2011, Pennsylvania ranks ninth in the nation for drug overdose deaths with 15.1 for every 100,000 population.

While these medications are sometimes stolen from patients, hospitals, and pharmacies, and later sold on the street, what’s equally disturbing is that in some cases doctors are duped to write prescriptions by those running scams, often called doctor shoppers.

At this current time, Pennsylvania physicians are vulnerable to scammers shopping for pills. All states surrounding Pennsylvania have built controlled substance databases that give physicians a strong tool to help identify someone who may be abusing narcotics. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not have one.

This concerns the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). So, as legislation is debated, the organization is taking action to arm physicians with a tool to help separate patients with legitimate pain from those scamming for pills.

To help physicians, PAMED has produced an educational reference booklet that helps physicians identify red flags related to pill-seeking doctor shoppers, while also suggesting screening tools to separate patients with true pain from scammers. Since some scammers may be hooked on prescription medications, the booklet also provides resources for addiction treatment. In addition, the booklet contains information that physicians can provide to patients on how to properly dispose of medications that are no longer needed.

View Booklet
View List of Resource Links

Last Updated: 7/1/2013

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Comments: 2


Based on the limited information you have provided, it is difficult to provide a response. If you are a PAMED member, you may contact the PAMED with any questions.

Pennsylvania Medical Society at 9/4/2013 12:13:25 PM


Our group physicians' frustration is that once an individual has been determined to be a chronic pill shopper and eventually is dismissed for non-compliance issues - why can't they be dismissed from the entire group. We've been given the legal opinion that we really can't ban them from the group physicians - and that we must accept the physician into another clinic and, if problems occur, go through the customary patient discharge process. Does anyone out there have anything in writing that indicates what the rights of a large multi-specialty/multi-location physician group may be - the physicians feel they just continue to pass on the problem to other colleagues and waste time that could be used for treating others.

Multi Specialty Group Clinic at 8/30/2013 3:40:39 PM