Double Doctoring for Getting More Prescription Drugs

Can You Fill the Same Prescription at Different Pharmacies?

Double Doctoring for Getting More Prescription Drugs
Posted October 14, 2019 by Michael Chamberlain — See Editorial Guidelines

Whether by intent, confusion or a simple mistake, you may be wondering if you can fill a prescription twice. If you’re looking for details on what happens if you want to fill your prescription again or at a different pharmacy, then this article will address that for you.

Can You Fill The Same Prescription At Different Pharmacies? With the advancements of pharmacy networks, management software and state-run programs such as the prescription monitoring program, the majority of pharmacies throughout the USA can track prescriptions. As such restricting the ability to fill the same prescription at different pharmacies.

The leading cause of injury deaths in the USA is reported to be from an overdose of medications and opioid addiction.

The prescription for pain relievers and heroin dependence/addiction is said to be responsible for more than half of these deaths. As such there are several state and non-state programs, systems and processes that are established to prevent anybody from filling the same prescription from different pharmacies. 

Why You Cannot Fill the Same Prescription at Different Pharmacies

Nobody would want to fill the same prescription at different pharmacies without an underlying cause. Especially if you’re filling the prescription your own pocket, it only costs you more.

But if you want to fill the same prescription at different pharmacies, it is often going to be for some negative reason that you can’t or won’t disclose.

Whether the request is innocent or not, from a pharmacy’s and the law’s perspective, anybody who wants to fill the same prescription at different pharmacies has the following two reasons which are either harmful or illegal. 

1. Harmful Reasons as to Why Pharmacies Won’t Fill the Same Prescription Twice

Some patients attempt to obtain a large number of certain medications that they have become addicted to. This addiction mainly comes in the form of opioids (narcotic pain medications  Oxycontin, Percocet or Vicodin).

Usually, when it comes to these medications, the doctor tends to prescribe a low dosage that was effective at the time the prescription was written, with no instructions to increase any dosage drastically.

So, when patients need more drugs to get the same effect (relief) for their pain and if their doctor is not willing to prescribe more, they try to fill the same prescription at different pharmacies.

On the other hand, sometimes doctors prescribe painkillers only for a short period for a legitimate pain condition. So, when the drugs are finished, the patient may find a sense of relief in continuing the use of that substance – even though it’s no longer required. During this condition may patients try to fill the same prescription at different pharmacies. 

As such if these patients are provided with the same painkillers or relievers twice or more at different pharmacies, it could lead to overdose that could cause life-threatening results. It’s estimated that around 12 million people over the age of 12 abused prescription pain relievers in 2015.

2. Illegal Reasons as to Why Pharmacies Won’t Fill the Same Prescription Twice

Some patients try to re-sell medications to earn money to buy other drugs that support behavioral addiction. Whereas some patients just want to re-sell medications such as controlled substances because they need money for other purposes. These are all acts of drug dealing or drug trafficking, which are highly illegal. 

Alternatively, some patients may want to re-use certain drugs to form another drug which may be illegal. As an example, a recreational stimulant can be created and sold by crushing stimulant drugs  Adderall prescribed for ADD. This is another form of drug dealing or trafficking, which again is illegal.

When you read the above reasons, you can clearly understand that filling the same prescription at different pharmacies is either harmful to you or that you may be promoting an illegal act, which the pharmacy ultimately may be held responsible and accountable for.

If a patient dies or any evidence of drug trafficking is encountered as a result of a pharmacy filling an already filled prescription, the pharmacy will be held responsible for the consequences. The pharmacy or the pharmacist can either be fined, jailed or the pharmacy license can be confiscated.

Therefore, many pharmacies and even countries have now developed systems, processes, and programs to efficiently track prescriptions. This way a patient will not be able to fill the same prescription in different pharmacies. You can ask us for help if you genuinely cannot afford your medication. 

How Do Pharmacies Track Prescriptions

Pharmacies now use sophisticated pharmacy management software to track prescriptions. This software has a member profile for every patient.

Every member profile will have details of the patients from their name, address, allergies, and insurance information, through to other important demographic data. This system will keep a consistent record of all the prescriptions that the patient brings to the pharmacy. 

This system can also be interconnected to other chains of pharmacies. So, all the pharmacies who are interconnected to this system will have access to the prescription details of patients who filled at the pharmacies registered under the system.

As such when a patient tries to fill the same prescription in different pharmacies within the system, the pharmacy will be made aware of it. This way patients trying to fill the same prescription in different pharmacies can be prevented – to a greater extent.

Apart from this purpose, these sophisticated systems also help to identify the allergies related to each patient when filling a prescription.

This way if a patient’s details show the patient is allergic to a specific drug prescribed to be filled, the pharmacist can warn the patient and inquire about it further with the patient and/or the doctor, this prevents any adverse interactions with the prescription drugs.

While that’s a system among the pharmacies to track prescriptions, in the USA, there is a state-run program that tracks and monitors perceptions of controlled substances. Let’s take a look at how it works.

State-Run Prescription Monitoring Program

In the USA, the prescription monitoring program or prescription drug monitoring program is a state-run program that helps track prescriptions of controlled substances.

This program aims mainly at collecting and distributing data about the prescriptions of patients filling controlled substances, the dispensing of legally controlled substances and other legally appropriate potential addictive or abusable prescription drugs. So if you’re town in a different state, then see our article about filling prescriptions in different states.

This program assists pharmacists, nurses, prescribers, dentists, physicians, physician assistants, practitioners, and other support staff to contribute to the legitimate use of controlled substances by patients while limiting prescription abuse and diversions.

Under this program, the pharmacies dispensing controlled substances are required to register under their respective state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The registration will make them accountable and required to report the dispensation of controlled prescriptions to an online database.

This way all the pharmacies within the state, registered in this program will have access to the patient details when filling controlled substance prescriptions. Your Doctor will know too.

This will then show a red flag when the same controlled substance prescription is trying to be filled at different pharmacies within the state by the same person or prescription. Currently, 49 states in the US have implemented PDMP’s but there’s little evidence on the effectiveness of this program. 

What Happens If You Try to Fill the Same Prescription at Two Different Pharmacies

Not all pharmacies may have implemented these systems and there can be instances where you can potentially get the same prescription filled in different pharmacies. This is possible only where the laws are less rigid, or if the pharmacists or the pharmacies are less concerned or vigilant about scanning your prescription.

In any event, if you try to fill the same prescription twice at different pharmacies and if the pharmacist suspects what you are doing, they may call your doctor. This will make your next visit to the doctor very unpleasant and quite embarrassing. Doing this may destroy your reputation and lose the sense of trust the doctor has on you.

On the other hand, the pharmacists also have all the legal rights to refuse to fill your prescription, either on this occasion or in the future, even if it’s a genuine attempt to fill.

The pharmacist can also spread awareness among neighboring pharmacies or other pharmacists on a similar network about the situation, which may then make it difficult or awkward for you every time you try to fill a prescription in the area.

To close

Most instances when this occurs are usually confusion or mistake. Most pharmacists will know and will be familiar with attempts at obtaining drugs illegally and when mistakes occur. So, there is nothing to worry about, if you are confused as to whether your prescription has yet been filled, then consult with your doctor or pharmacist for assistance.

This article is for guidance purposes only, you should always consult your doctor or a pharmacist directly to obtain the correct response for your region or state and bespoke to your situation. However, we hope this has been useful in helping you as a guide, to understand more about filling prescriptions

If you have any questions about how Prescription Hope can help you save money on drugs that we offer, or if you’re having trouble affording any of the medications you’ve been prescribed, contact us, or visit the enrollment page to create an account and fill out an application to start saving.


Doctor Shopping Laws

Double Doctoring for Getting More Prescription Drugs

Popular talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was arrested in 2006 for prescription fraud, following his public confession that he'd become addicted to the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

Florida prosecutors accused him of prescription fraud after discovering he obtained roughly 2,000 pills prescribed by four doctors in the space of six months.

Limbaugh, who denied the charge and pleaded not-guilty, was able to evade felony charges in exchange for seeking treatment.

More commonly known as «doctor shopping,» federal and state laws make it a crime (typically a felony) to withhold information, falsify symptoms, or otherwise engage in fraud in order to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.

This article discusses doctor shopping laws in general, examples of federal and state laws, and common punishments.

Doctor Shopping: Overview

Doctor shopping involves the use of deception and manipulation to encourage a doctor to prescribe drugs for illicit use or sale.

Often this is accomplished by faking symptoms, withholding important information, claiming earlier refills were lost, and other tactics.

Sometimes doctors are in on the scam, as is the case with so-called «pill mills» that are notorious for selling to addicts and dealers.

According to a study cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of out every 143 U.S.

patients who received an opioid prescription in 2008 got them from multiple doctors in a pattern suggesting doctor shopping.

What's more, the article points out, one subset of suspected doctor shoppers obtained an average of 32 opioid prescriptions from 10 different doctors over a 10-month period.

Since the crime involves deception and a certain level of trust (for instance, doctors don't know whether pain is real or faked), it's unclear just how widespread the problem is.

Federal Doctor Shopping Law

Federal law makes it a crime to «knowingly or intentionally… possess a controlled substance» unless it was obtained through a valid prescription (among other narrow exceptions).

While the language is vague, the use of deception or manipulation in order to possess a controlled substance (such as a prescription painkiller) would render the prescription invalid.

The code section goes on to state that the attempt or conspiracy to illegally obtain a controlled substance also is a criminal offense.

But these crimes generally are prosecuted by the states, all of which (in addition to the District of Columbia) have laws prohibiting doctor shopping.

State Doctor Shopping Laws

Every state has adopted some version of the anti-fraud provision found in the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act or the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Nearly half of the states have more specific laws prohibiting patients from knowingly withholding information from the doctor they're currently seeing about prescribed controlled substances they've received from other healthcare practitioners.

The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act states the following:

No person shall obtain or attempt to obtain a narcotic drug, or procure or attempt to procure the administration of a narcotic drug … by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge or … by the concealment of a material fact.

Examples of state doctor shopping laws include the following:

  • Arizona — Information communicated from a patient to a doctor (or other care provider) in an attempt to procure controlled substances through fraud is not protected as privileged communication.
  • Kansas — It is unlawful for a patient to provide false information, «with the intent to deceive» a practitioner «for the purpose of obtaining a prescription-only drug.»
  • Montana — Patients are prohibited from obtaining «the same or a similar dangerous drug … from another source within the prior 30 days.»
  • Louisiana — Patients must disclose the name of any previously prescribed (within the prior 30 days) controlled substances, the amount prescribed, and the number of refills.
  • Rhode Island — The state has two laws prohibiting such acts: those committed «by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge» and those committed «by the concealment of a material fact.»

Penalties for Doctor Shopping Offenses

Penalties for those convicted of (or who plead guilty to) doctor shopping violations vary from state to state and depend on the case.

For example, first-time offenders with drug addiction problems are often given the option of attending drug treatment programs instead of serving time in prison.

This option is similar to other diversion programs (often called «drug courts») for first-time drug offenders.

Otherwise, most convictions result in prison time and steep fines. For instance, a conviction in Florida can land you in prison for up to five years, with fines of up to $5,000. In California, prison sentences for doctor shopping can be up to three years but with a fine of up to $20,000. Virtually all states treat the offense as a felony.

Have More Questions About Doctor Shopping Laws? A Lawyer Can Help

If you're a physician or patient with a legitimate need for certain prescription drugs, such as opioids, but concerned about accusations of prescription fraud, you may want more information about these laws. Your best option is to get in touch with an experienced health care attorney near you.


Double-Doctoring: Is It illegal To Get The Same Prescription From 2 Doctors? | William Jaksa

Double Doctoring for Getting More Prescription Drugs

Doctors are often criticized for a tendency to overprescribe drugs, especially in the wake of the opioid epidemic. But in instances of “doctor shopping” (double-doctoring or prescription shopping), the charges don’t often fall on the doctors.

What Is Double-Doctoring?

Double-doctoring is a drug offence where the subject visits multiple doctors for the same issue in an attempt to get multiple prescriptions. They visit one doctor and get a prescription, and then go to another without disclosing that they went to another doctor. This allows them to double their prescriptions.

Double-doctoring can also fraud offences. This occurs where the subject forges false prescriptions on stolen prescription pad paper. It can also occur where the subject alters prescriptions.

Typically, double-doctoring involves a controlled substance. The most common prescription for this charge are:

  • Barbituates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Tylenol 3

Although it’s called double-doctoring it can involve more than two doctors. Of course, simply going to more than one doctor is not a crime. Sometimes, getting a second opinion is even recommended. However, it becomes a crime when you fail to disclose other prescriptions given within the past 30 days.

Potential Consequences of Prescription Shopping

Prescription shopping is a drug offence that can result in serious consequences, including fines or imprisonment. Several variables that can contribute to double-doctoring offences. So there is some variability in sentencing options depending on the circumstances.

Typically, these variables are broken into two categories, patient-related factors and physician-related factors:

Patient-related factors often revolve around issues addiction or psychological dysfunction. As well, they can occur where there are illness variables, a patient seeking out extra prescriptions due to symptom persistence.

Physician-related factors can also contribute. Some common issues include:

  • Long wait times
  • Physician attitude
  • Inconvenient office hours/location
  • Insufficient communication

These physician and patient-related factors have the potential to act as mitigating factors. In contrast to prescription shopping for the purpose of trafficking, factors illness or addiction generally face less severe consequences.

As well, the severity of the sentencing depends largely on:

Summary or Indictable Conviction

Whether the Crown decides to pursue a summary or indictable conviction for a drug offence has a direct impact on the sentencing. A summary conviction is typically less severe and may simply result in a fine. Whereas an indictable conviction has a higher possibility of jail time.

Schedule of Drugs

The Controlled Substances Act has different classifications for drugs. The severity of sentencing can rely largely on the schedule of drugs involved.

For instance, codeine and morphine are Schedule I drugs. This classification marks them as the most dangerous drugs, with a high potential for psychological or physical dependence. Possessing or attempting to obtain a Schedule I drug can result in a maximum sentence of seven years.

A conviction for trafficking Schedule I or II drugs can make the defendant liable to imprisonment for life.

Possessing or attempting to obtain Schedule IV drugs, benzodiazepines, result in a maximum sentence of 18 months for a first offence. Schedule IV drugs are classified as a lower potential for abuse, although may result in dependence.

First or Subsequent Offence

Subsequent offences for prescription shopping face more severe sentencing than first offences. However, first-time offenders can go to jail. For a summary conviction, a subsequent offence may include higher fines, longer imprisonment, or both.

What to do if Arrested on Prescription Shopping Charges

If you are arrested for a drug offence the first step thing you should do is contact a criminal lawyer. Upon arrest and detention, you have the right to demand a lawyer, without delay. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you speak with your lawyer.

Until you talk to a defence lawyer the only info you are required to give police is your name, birth date, and address.

In addition to hiring a criminal defence lawyer, it’s a good idea to seek professional help, such as addiction counselling.

Addiction is one of the most common mitigating factors in double-doctoring. Serious attempts to deal with addiction can result in a more favourable outcome in Court.

William Jaksa is a Toronto defence attorney with experience and success in handling drug offences. He will help you understand your charges, your options, and the potential outcomes. Contact William Jaksa today for a consultation.


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