Q: I have received a prescription which I believe may be fraudulent, what action should I take? Is there a reward available?
A: The action you take will depend on the individual circumstances. You may claim a reward for spotting a fraudulent prescription; the payment varies for each country within the UK.
How can you spot a fraudulent prescription? Below are some useful tips on how to detect a prescription that may be fraudulent.
1. Is there an appropriate quantity of drug prescribed and is it appropriate for the condition they have?
2. Has the prescription been written correctly?
3. Are there any spelling mistakes?
4. Has any amendment been counter-signed?
5. Is the patient and prescriber known to you?
6. Is the behaviour of the patient aggressive, nervous, showing agitation?
7. Check the signature carefully against another prescription from the same prescriber.
If you have any reason to doubt the authenticity of a prescription you should confirm details with the prescriber, including confirmation that the prescription has been issued, what the original intention of the prescriber was and if there has been any alteration at all to the prescription.
If the prescription is determined to be fraudulent or to have been amended fraudulently you should retain the prescription if possible. Do not put the safety of pharmacy staff at risk if the patient insists on having the form back and becomes aggressive.
You should use your own professional judgement to decide whether the matter requires referral to the police and/or NHS Counter Fraud Services (for NHS prescriptions only) or if it can be resolved through discussion with the patient and prescriber.
Claiming a reward for detecting fraudulent prescriptions
In England and Wales you are eligible for a payment of £70 provided all the conditions listed in Part XIVA of the England and Wales Tariff are met. Only one fee is payable even if there are multiple items on the prescription form.
Pharmacists who are eligible to claim by contacting the Authority as soon as practicable, normally within 7 days should now contact:
NHS Counter Fraud Authority
80 London Road
Tel: 0207 895 4545
Northern Ireland has a similar scheme, the conditions for which can be found in General Notes Reward Scheme .33 of the Northern Ireland Tariff. The claim must be made to the BSO within 10 days.
Scotland does not currently have a reward scheme for finding a fraudulent prescription.
Each week we will be highlighting a popular question or issue addressed by our information services team to help keep you informed about the hot topics being discussed by other members.
If you have any questions about the Drug Tariff - send Sue a message or call Information Services on 0800 783 5709