Prescription medication abuse increases the risk of health care professionals facing drug-related charges. Pharmacists, for example, may face felony distribution charges if they dispense a controlled substance to an individual who does not present a valid doctor’s prescription.
The Alabama Department of Public Health’s website notes that preventing abuse of prescriptions means pharmacists must report certain medications.
Pharmacists must upload daily reports of prescriptions for controlled substances
If a prescription falls into a Class II, III, IV or V category of controlled substances, Alabama’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program requires pharmacists to report it. Submitting daily records of dispensed prescriptions to the PDMP database could prevent a felony charge.
The PDMP helps prevent the abuse of controlled substances and informs health care professionals. The program’s database also streamlines the work of law enforcement officials in their investigations.
Alabama pharmacist charged and convicted
As noted by the U.S. Department of Justice, an Alabama licensed pharmacist pleaded guilty to one charge of illegal distribution of a controlled substance. An anonymous phone call disclosed that the pharmacy he owned sold medications to individuals who did not have prescriptions.
As part of his plea, the pharmacist admitted to selling 14 pain pills categorized as a Schedule II drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The individual who purchased the pills purportedly did not have a prescription.
Cases involving health care professionals may begin when officials receive an anonymous tip. If a patient’s information does not match records in the PDMP database, a pharmacist may face serious felony charges. To avoid conviction, a pharmacist may need to present detailed documents of valid prescriptions.