Prescription drug fraud is a growing problem, with 3-10% of every healthcare dollar in the US lost to fraud. Federal, state and local law enforcement report that diverted pharmaceutical traffic is one of their biggest problems. According to a survey in 2009, from 28-58% of police agencies around the US reported that street gangs and other criminals were involved in prescription drug distribution. Nationwide, it was reported in 2010 that seven million people illegally used prescription drugs in the most recent month.
Everyone pays for the prescription drug fraud problem. It causes increases in healthcare premiums, higher healthcare costs for governments, higher taxes and higher deductibles.
Prescription drug fraud occurs in a variety of ways. If you misrepresent yourself to a pharmacist or to a doctor, obtain prescriptions by being dishonest, if you doctor shop, or if you are physician who prescribes with no legitimate purposes, you are committing prescription drug fraud. This is a very serious offense that involves the use and supply of controlled substances, which are in one of five classifications. Specifically, they are stimulants, depressants, and opiates. Addiction to prescription drugs, such as Davocet, Valium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine, is at epidemic levels, which is why prescription drug fraud is a serious crime.
Many experts say that the misuse of prescription drugs really took off in the mid-1990s due to the introduction of OxyContin, which is an oral version of oxycodone that is released in the body for 12 hours. It is a very effective pain reliever, but the original version was easy to adulterate so that it could be snorted or injected, leading to an immediate high.
Prescription Drug Fraud Laws
Prescription drug fraud is charged under the Controlled Substances Act. Specifically, it comes under Title 21 – Food and Drugs, Chapter 13 – Drug Abuse Prevention and Control, Subchapter 1 – Control and Enforcement.
Prescription Drug Fraud Crimes & Charges
Doctor shopping is the most common way for people to commit prescription drug fraud. A doctor can only prescribe so much medication to a single patient. This leads to people registering with multiple doctors without telling them they are already receiving medication from another physician. These patients also may claim that they lost their drug prescription and need more of the drug. This is criminal fraud and prosecuted as such. Unfortunately, many people are now addicted to prescription drugs, and this has opened up a market for people to sell these products as well. As such, those accused of prescription fraud are often not just users, but also nurses and hospital workers.
There are various other types of prescription drug fraud crimes, including:
- Stealing a physician’s pad and forging prescriptions. It is easier today to fake a prescription slip as the cost of high quality printing equipment has dropped in recent years. Some offenders may even paint glue at the top of the slip to make it look like it was torn from a real prescription pad.
- Creating fake prescriptions using computers. It is easier than ever before to use sophisticated printing equipment to create real-looking prescription slips.
- Impersonating a member of the medical community to obtain prescriptions. It is common to call in a prescription while pretending to be a medical professional. Offenders will commonly call the pharmacy when the doctor’s office is not working. The pharmacist will want to call into the doctor’s office to confirm that the prescription is real. Some offenders will leave their own telephone number. Many offenders may be patients or employees of the doctor.
- Altering the prescription provided by a physician. This is the most common way that drug addicts try to get more drugs. They may change the type of drug, increase the quantity of pills or add drugs. Another common method is to make copies of real prescriptions for several uses.
- Buying drugs online. Many prescription drugs can be purchased online. Because online purchases are often anonymous and there are sometimes lax identity requirements, it may be easier for drug addicts to get their drugs this way. There are some websites that sell generic versions of opioids that do not require a doctor’s prescription.
Physicians, meanwhile, are also often charged with prescription drug fraud. This is because they issue unusual prescriptions, illegitimate prescriptions, or fraudulent prescriptions.
Different states have different laws in place, meaning that the crime can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Usually, if it is shown that the defendant intended to sell the drugs, it will be classed as a felony.
Prescription Drug Fraud Harms
Law enforcement takes prescription drug fraud seriously because it can lead to very serious consequences for individuals and society. It is common for prescription drugs obtained illegally to lead to overdoses and ER visits. Misuse of prescription drugs can easily lead to abuse and dependence and require expensive rehabilitation that is usually paid for by society.
The growing problem of prescription drug fraud has led to more people seeking treatment for abuse of prescription drugs. The 2010 National Survey of Drug Use and Health showed that since 2002, the number of people in the US getting treatment for abuse of prescription opioids has increased from 306,000 to 754,000.
The need for money to get prescription drugs illegally also can lead to a higher number of crimes, such as burglary and robbery. Prescription drug theft is among the top items that are stolen in burglaries in many areas.
Most Common Prescription Drug Fraud Offenders
Unlike some other common drug crimes, prescription drug fraud and misuse affects people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. In many cases, they become addicted to the drugs that are legally prescribed to them, and then make efforts to obtain more prescriptions illegally. Other offenders who are already hooked on other drugs obtain prescriptions illegally and learn how to convert the drugs into more dangerous drugs.
Some of the most common prescription drug fraud offenders are:
- Young adults and youth: The biggest increase in prescription drug fraud and abuse in recent years has been in young adults and youth. Of the 6 million Americans who were using prescription drugs illegally in 2010, almost half of them were from 12-25 years old. Illegal use of prescription drugs from 12-17 year olds increased by 60% from 1999 to 2006.
- Women: Men and women have the same rates of prescription drug abuse and fraud, but women are more likely to become addicted to them.
- Older adults: Illegal use of prescription drugs for adults from 50-59 almost doubled from 2002 to 2009. Older adults may be more likely in some cases to misuse prescription drugs because they get those drugs legally three times more often than the general public. After they have gotten the drugs legally, some older people get hooked on the drugs and try to get illegal prescriptions through various means.
- People with substance abuse problems: Prescription drug fraud is more common among people who are addicted to other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.
- Healthcare workers: These workers are in a good position to obtain prescription drugs illegally. Offenders may take drugs while they are working, steal prescription pads from doctors, or write illegal prescriptions for friends and family. Of the 250 felony arrests that were made by a drug diversion unit in Ohio, almost 20% of them involved healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses. It was common for healthcare workers to either get prescriptions illegally to support their own drug habit or to sell them for a profit on the street.
Prescription Drug Fraud Punishments
Prescription drug fraud can be considered a 3rd or 4th degree felony. A 3rd degree felony can be punished by three to five years in prison, and a 4th degree felony can be punished by up to 18 months in prison. Fines can be up to $30,000.
Prescription Drug Fraud Sentencing Guidelines
If the fraud is a first offense, and it was one for personal use, it is possible that a judge will allow the perpetrator to be taken under advisement. This means the case is dismissed in full, and no further consequences will be placed upon them. A judge does also need to determine whether the fraud was uncovered in a fully legal manner. Furthermore, they must ascertain whether or not a doctor who provided the prescription acted ‘in good faith’.
Prescription Drug Fraud Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for prescription drug fraud is generally three years. However, some states have started to increase the statute. Furthermore, the statute can be tolled if the defendant is out of state or out of the country. Different states also impose different crimes on top of prescription drug charges, such as possession with intent to supply. These crimes can carry harsher penalties and longer statutes.
Prescription Drug Fraud Defenses
Prescription drug fraud cases can be contested like any other criminal charge. One of the most common defenses is to challenge how the evidence against the person was collected (illegal search and seizure). There also may be defects in the search warrant or related constitutional violations.
If the charged person is a doctor, he may use the ‘good faith’ defense if the patient does not disclose a material fact that if the healthcare professional knew, he would not have given the prescription.
Some states may use alternative sentencing or dispositions, which can include drug courts and pretrial diversion programs for the first time offender. In these cases, the prescription drug fraud charges may be dropped or dismissed.
Prescription Drug Fraud Cases
- The prescription records of two firefighters were obtained without a warrant as part of an investigation. It has been determined that this was done legally. The Utah firefighters said that the lack of a search warrant was unconstitutional, but the judge does not agree. All details are currently held on a database and the case has set a precedent for law enforcers not needing a warrant in order to access the database, something the firefighters disagree with. The firefighters had also both been accused of prescription drug fraud, but they were able to prove that their prescriptions were for legitimate use only. (The Salt Lake Tribune)
- ‘Operation Script Rip’ has come to its end in St. Petersburg, FL, during which 23 people were arrested. It is alleged that they created some 417 fraudulent prescriptions. Some 18 other suspects are still at large. Between them, they face over 200 individual criminal charges. As part of the operation, agents were able to determine that the criminals were faxing fraudulent prescriptions to various pharmacies without the doctor being aware of this. An entire ring of people was involved, including staff inside the physician’s office, and various ‘runners’. (10 News)
- In the past two weeks, three men have been arrested as part of a drug fraud ring. They have been charged with insurance fraud, second-degree forgery, illegally obtaining prescription drugs, illegal possession of narcotics, and illegally obtaining controlled substances using deceit or fraud. Interestingly, not a single one among the three men has ever been registered with a physician. One of the men involved has entered a guilty plea and has been allowed a plea deal. He had previously been convicted of similar crimes and was on probation. The second and third suspects are pending their first hearing. It is likely that their bonds will be set at $225,000. (The Bristol Press)
- One family doctor in Kitchener became addicted to fentanyl after the collapse of her marriage. She has been sent to two years in prison for theft, fraud, and forgery. The judge wished her good luck as she was taken out of the courtroom in tears. McArthur has been convicted of forging 97 prescriptions for fentanyl patches, as well as thousands of hydromorphine tablets. Some were in her mother’s name, others in her own. She pleaded guilty to all charges. She has also been ordered to three years of probation and she has had to have her details included on the national DNA databank. Both the prosecution and the defense agree that there is hope for McArthur, who was always a highly respected member of the medical community, and a pillar of society. However, due to the combination of the drugs she took, and due to the extent of her deceit, a prison sentence was deemed necessary. (The Record)
Prescription Fraud Laws by State
Alabama covers prescription drug fraud under the Code of Alabama (2011), with different sections being relevant depending on the crime. Specifically:
- Possession is covered under Section 13A-12-212, which is a Class C felony
- Distribution is covered under Section 20-2-72. Prohibited acts C., which is also a Class C felony
Alaska covers prescription drug fraud under Alaska Statutes (2011), Section 11.71.040. Misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree. This covers manufacturing, possession, delivery, and usage of fraudulent prescription drugs. This is a class C felony.
Arizona has different prescription drug fraud charges under the Arizona Revised Statutes, including:
- Section 13-3406. Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation. When the crime involves the sale or intended sale of prescription drugs, the state classifies it as a class 6 felony. All other crimes relating to prescription drug fraud are a class 1 misdemeanor.
- Section 13-3407. Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of dangerous drugs. Depending on the exact crime involved, it can be a Class 4 felony, a Class 2 felony, or a Class 3 felony.
- Section 13-3408. Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of narcotic drugs. Depending on the exact nature of the crime, an offender can be convicted of a Class 2, Class 3, or Class 4 felony.
- Section 32-1965. Prohibited acts and Section 36-2531. Prohibited acts. Offenses are treated as a Class 4 felony.
Arkansas covers prescription drug fraud under Arkansas Code (2011):
- Section 5-64-403. Fraud–Criminal penalties–Drug paraphernalia. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, it can be classed as a Class C or Class D felony, or a Class A misdemeanor.
- Section 5-64-415. Other definitions, drug precursors. This classifies that licensed professionals using their license to commit fraud are guilty of a Class D felony. Not meeting the necessary reporting requirements is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Section 20-64-217. Fraud or deceit.
- Section 20-64-312. Forged prescriptions, etc.
California covers prescription drug fraud under California Codes:
- Business and Professions (2011) – Section 2241.5. Prescription or administration of dangerous drugs or prescription controlled substances for treatment of pain or condition causing pain. Convictions are generally handled internally within a health setting.
- Business and Professions (2011) – Section 4324. Forged prescriptions; possession of drugs obtained by forged prescription. County jail or state prison for up to one year.
- Business and Professions (2011) – Section 4324. Forged prescriptions; possession of drugs obtained by forged prescription. County jail for up to one year.
- Health and Safety (2011) – Section 11157. False or fictitious prescription. Misdemeanor offense, up to one year in county jail and/or $1,000 fine for counterfeit; six months in county jail and/or $1,000 fine for possession of a forged prescription and for obtaining a forged prescription.
- Health and Safety (2011) – Section 11166. Time limit on filling prescription; mutilated, forged, or altered prescription.
- Health and Safety (2011) – Section 11173. Fraud, deceit, misrepresentations.
- Health and Safety (2011) – Section 11174. False name or address.
- Health and Safety (2011) – Section 11368. Forged or altered prescriptions. Between six months and one year in county jail or state prison.
- Crimes and Punishments (2011) – Section 377. False representation as physician to obtain prescription drugs. Misdemeanor.
Colorado covers prescription drug fraud under Colorado Revised Statutes (2011):
- Section 12-22-126. Unlawful acts.
- Section 18-18-414. Unlawful acts–licenses—penalties. Some acts are a misdemeanor leading to a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to one year in county jail. Others are a Class 4 felony.
- Section 18-18-415. Fraud and deceit. Class 6 felony.
Connecticut covers prescription fraud under Connecticut General Statutes (2011):
- Section 21a-108. Illegal obtaining or supplying of drugs. Forged labels.
- Section 21a-266. Prohibited acts.
- Section 53a-139. Forgery in the second degree: Class D felony.
Delaware covers prescription fraud under Delaware Code (2011):
- Title 11 Section 861. Forgery; class F felony; class G felony; class A misdemeanor; restitution required.
- Title 16, Section 4756. Miscellaneous drug crimes; class B, C, & F felony.
Florida covers prescription drugs fraud under Florida Statutes (2011):
- Section 499.005. Prohibited acts.
- 0051. Criminal acts. 3rd, 2nd, or 1st degree felony. This can lead to substantial fines and even life in prison.
- Section 831.30. Medicinal drugs; fraud in obtaining. 2nd degree misdemeanor or 1st for repeat offenders.
- Section 893.13. Prohibited acts. 3rd, 2nd ,1st degree felony. Minimum of three years in prison, $500 fine, public service. Some circumstances under this statute are a 1st degree misdemeanor.
The Code of Georgia (2011) covers prescription drug fraud under:
- Section 16-13-43. Distribution without order form; fictitious registration; fraudulently obtaining controlled substance; false reports. Felony conviction, up to eight years in prison, and/or fine of up to $50,000.
- Section 16-13-76. Obtaining drugs by use of fictitious name or false address.
- Section 26-4-204. Unlawful acts.
Hawaii Revised Statutes (2011) cover prescription drug fraud in the state:
- Section 329-42. Prohibited acts C. Class C felony.
- 03. Fraudulent Obtaining of a Controlled Substance: H.R.S. Section 329- 42(a)(3).
- Section 329-46. Prohibited acts related to visits to more than one practitioner to obtain controlled substance prescriptions.
Idaho covers prescription drug fraud under Idaho Code (2011):
- Section 37-2734. Prohibited acts C. Felony, up to for years in prison and/or up to $30,000 in fines.
- Section 54-1732. Violations and penalties. Misdemeanor, fine of up to $500 in some instances or up to one year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine. Felony convictions are also possible, leading to up to three years in penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- Section 54-1758. Prohibited acts.
- 2011 Illinois House Bill 2917 – 720 ILCS 570/314.5. Medication shopping; pharmacy shopping.
Under Illinois Compiled Statutes (2011):
- Chapter 720 Section 570/406. Miscellaneous violations; penalties. Class A misdemeanor for 1st offense of Class 4 felony for repeat offenders. Fines of up to $100,000. Other cases are class 4 felony for first offenders or class 3 felony for subsequent offenses, with fines of up to $100,000. Class A misdemeanors are also covered under this section.
- Section 406.2. Unauthorized possession of prescription form. Class 4 felony for 1st offense, Class 3 for subsequent offenses. Fines up to $100,000 for 1st offense and $200,000 for subsequent offenses.
Under Indiana Code (2011):
- 16-42-19-16 Unlawful acts.
- 35-48-4-14 Offenses relating to registration labeling and prescription forms. Class D felony for 1st offense, Class C for subsequent offenses.
Under Iowa Code (2011):
- 403. Prohibited acts–controlled substances, distribution, use, possession–records and information. Serious misdemeanor.
- 23. Prohibited acts.
Under Kansas Statutes (2010):
- 21-36a08. Unlawfully obtaining and distributing a prescription-only drug. Class A nonperson misdemeanor for 1st offense, level 9 nonperson felon for subsequent offenses, level 6 nonperson felony for selling.
- 21-5708. Unlawfully obtaining and distributing a prescription-only drug. Class A nonperson misdemeanor for 1st offenses, level 9 nonperson felony for subsequent offenses, level 6 nonperson felony for selling.
Under Kentucky Revised Statutes (2011):
- 207 Theft, criminal possession, trafficking, or unlawful possession of a prescription blank. Class A misdemeanor for 1st offense, Class D felony for subsequent offenses.
- 208 Forgery of a prescription. Class D felony for first offense, Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
- 209 Criminal possession of a forged prescription. Class A misdemeanor for first offense, Class D felony for subsequent offenses.
- Section 218A.140 Prohibited acts relating to controlled substance. Class D felony.
- 282 Forgery of a prescription. Class D felony for 1st offense, Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
- 284 Criminal possession of a forged prescription. Class D felony for 1st offense, Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
- 286 Theft, criminal possession, trafficking, or unlawful possession of a prescription or blank. Class D felony for 1st offense, Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
Under Louisiana Statutes (2011):
- Section 40:971. Prohibited acts; all schedules. Fine of up to $15,000. If the crime is intentional/knowingly committed, up to six months and up to $500 fine. May lead to up to five years hard labor and fine of up to $5,000.
- 40:971.2. Unlawfully prescribing, distributing, dispensing, or assisting in illegally obtaining controlled dangerous substances. Up to five years hard labor and a fine of up to $50,000.
Under Maine Revised Statutes (2011):
- 17-A Section 1108. Acquiring drugs by deception. Class C or D crime.
- Section 13786-A. Security requirements.
Under the Code of Maryland – Criminal Law (2011):
- Section 5-601. Possessing or administering controlled dangerous substance. Misdemeanor, up to fours years in prison and/or up to $25,000 fine. For marijuana, up to one year in prison and/or fine of up to $1,000, unless medically necessary marijuana, which leads to a fine of no more than $100.
- Section 5-606. False prescription.
- Section 5-620. Controlled paraphernalia. Misdemeanor, up to four years in prison and/or fine of up to $25,000. For marijuana, up to one year in prison and/or $1,000 fine.
- Section 5-701. Dispensing prescription drug. Misdemeanor, up to two years in prison and/or $1,000 fine.
- Section 5-705. Evidence of counterfeiting.
- Section 8-610. Counterfeiting prescription. Misdemeanor, up to two years in prison.
Under Massachusetts General Laws (2011) 94 C Section 33. Unlawful use of registration numbers in manufacture or distribution, or fraudulently obtaining possession, of controlled substances; criminal penalties. Up to four years in state prison or up to four years in house of correction and/or fine of up to $20,000 for 1st offense. Eight years in jail or two and a half years in house of correction and/or fine of up to $30,000 for subsequent offenses.
Under Michigan Compiled Laws (2011):
- 7403a. Fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain controlled substance or prescription for controlled substance from health care provider; civil immunity; sentencing; construction with other laws. Felony, up to 4 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000. Stiffer penalties for repeat offenders. Drug screening. Participant in rehab, Probation.
- Section 333.7407. Felony. Up to four years imprisonment and/or $30,000 fine.
- 17766. Prohibited acts generally. Misdemeanor.
Under Minnesota Statutes (2011):
- Section 152.025. Controlled substance crime in the fifth degree – Subdivision 1 Sale Crimes. Up to five years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 fine.
- Subdivision 2 Possession and other crimes. 5th degree controlled substance crime. Up to five years in prison and/or up to $10,000 fine.
Under Mississippi Code (2010) Section 41-29-144. Misrepresentation, fraud and forgery. Between one and five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $1,000.
Under Missouri Statutes (2010) Section 195.204. Fraudulently attempting to obtain a controlled substance. Class D felony.
Under Montana Code (2011) Section 45-9-104. Fraudulently obtaining dangerous drugs.
Under Nebraska Revised Statutes (2010):
- Section 28-418. Intentional violations. Class IV felony.
- 28-1437. Legend drugs; unlawful acts; definition; prescription by facsimile or electronic transmission.
- Section 71-7461. Unlawful acts.
Under Nevada Revised Statutes (2010):
- Section 453.331. Unlawful acts relating to distribution of certain controlled substances by registrants, use of unauthorized registration number and possession of signed blank prescription forms; certain fraudulent acts prohibited. Category C felony.
- 431. Unlawful acts relating to filling and refilling prescriptions and obtaining controlled substance or prescription; authorization to request proper identification from person requesting controlled substance. Category C felony.
- 505. Controlled substance for which prescription is not required: Violation of regulation by pharmacist; misrepresentation to pharmacist to obtain controlled substance. Gross misdemeanor.
- Section 454.311. Fraudulent possession of dangerous drug or prescription; false or altered prescription. Category E felony.
- 326. Misrepresentation by use of telephone to obtain dangerous drug. Misdemeanor for first offense, Category E felony for subsequent offenses.
- Section 453.391. Unlawful taking or obtaining of controlled substance or prescription.
Under Revised Statutes of the State of New Hampshire (2011):
- Section 318:52-a Fraud or Deceit.
- 318-B:2 Acts Prohibited.
Under New Jersey Statutes (2011):
- 2C:21-1. Forgery and related offenses.3rd or 4th degree crime.
- Section 2C:35-13. Obtaining by fraud. 3rd degree crime, fine of up to $50,000.
Under New Mexico Statutes (2011):
- Section 24-2D-4. Disciplinary action; prohibitions.
- Section 26-1-22. Unlawful means of obtaining dangerous drugs enumerated.
- Section 26-1-23. False statements; false pretenses; forgery of labels or prescriptions.
- Section 30-31-25. Controlled substances; prohibited acts. 4th degree felony.
- UJI 14-3113. Controlled Substance; Acquisition Or Attempt To Acquire By Misrepresentation; Essential Elements.
Under Mckinney’s Consolidated Laws of New York (2011):
- Penal Law Section 170.10 Forgery in the second degree. Class D felony.
- Public Health Law Section 3397. Fraud and deceit.
Under North Carolina General Statutes (2010):
- Section 90-108. Prohibited acts. Class 1 misdemeanor, unless the crime was intentional, in which case it is a Class 1 felony.
- Section 106-122. Certain acts prohibited.
Under North Dakota Century Code (2011):
- Section 19-03.1-25. Prohibited acts C. Class C felony.
- Section 43-15.3-08. Prohibited acts.
Under Ohio Revised Code (2011):
- Section 2925.22 Deception to obtain a dangerous drug. 5th degree felony.
- 23 Illegal processing of drug documents. 5th degree felony.
Under Oklahoma Statutes (2011):
- 59 Section 353.24. Unlawful acts. Misdemeanor for 1st offense (up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 fine). Felony for subsequent offenses (up to five years in state prison and/or fine of up to $2,000).
- 63 Section 2-406. Prohibited acts F. Felony (up to 20 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $250,000) for 1st Subsequent offenses double the sentence. Payment of $100 to the Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund (TCARF).
- 63 Section 2-407. Prohibited acts G. Felony (up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000) for 1st Subsequent offenses carry four to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000. $100 payment to the TCARF.
Under Oregon Revised Statutes (2011):
- 212. Tampering with drug records. Class C felony.
- Section 475.916. Fraudulent and deceptive acts. Class A misdemeanor.
Under Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes (2011):
- 35 Section 780-113. Prohibited acts. Misdemeanor (up to one year imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000) for 1st. Subsequent convictions receive up to three years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $25,000. For controlled substances, felony (up to 15 years imprisonment and/or up to $250,000 fine).
- 63 Section 390-8. Unlawful acts. Civil penalties, loss of license.
Under the General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated (2011):
- Section 21-28-4.03. Prohibited acts C. Up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to $5,000 fine.
- Section 21-28-4.05. Prohibited acts E. False representations to obtain controlled substances. Up to five years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 fine.
- Section 21-31-3. Prohibited acts.
Under Code of Laws of South Carolina (2010):
- Section 44-53-40. Obtaining certain drugs, devices, preparations or compounds by fraud, deceit, or the like. Misdemeanor (up to two years imprisonment and/or up to $500 fine). Subsequent offenses lead to up to five years imprisonment and/or up to $2,000 fine.
- Section 44-53-390. Prohibited acts C. Felony (up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $10,000). Civil penalties up to $100,000 for corporations.
- Section 44-53-395. Prohibited acts. Misdemeanor (up to two years imprisonment and/or fine up to $2,000). Subsequent offenses are felonies (up to five years imprisonment).
Under South Dakota Codified Laws (2011) Section 22-42-8. Obtaining possession of controlled substance by theft, misrepresentation, forgery, or fraud is a class 4 felony.
Under Tennessee Code (2011):
- Section 53-10-104. Sale, bartering or giving away; procuring by fraud or deceit.
- Section 53-11-402. Offenses. Class D felony. Penalties vary depending on the substance. Rehabilitation programs may be offered instead.
- 71-5-2601. Offenses. Class D or E felony.
Under Texas Health & Safety Statutes and Codes (2011):
- Section 431.021. Prohibited Acts.
- Section 481.129. Offense: Fraud. Class A misdemeanor, 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree felony.
- Section 483.045. Forging or Altering Prescription.
And under Texas Occupations Code (2011):
- Section 107.152. Authority of Board to Revoke or Suspend License.
- Section 164.053. Unprofessional or Dishonorable Conduct.
And under Texas Penal Code (2011):
- Section 71.02. Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity. Class A misdemeanor up to 1st degree felony.
Under Utah Code (2011)
- Section 58-17b-501. Unlawful conduct.
- Section 58-37-8. Prohibited acts. Ranges from misdemeanor to 1st or 2nd degree felony depending on substance, aggravating circumstances, and recidivism.
Under Vermont Statutes (2011):
- Title 18, Section 4221. Violations.
- Title 18, Section 4223 Fraud or deceit. Up to two years and one day imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Under the Code of Virginia (2011), Section 18.2-258.1. Obtaining drugs, procuring administration of controlled substances, etc., by fraud, deceit or forgery. Class 6 felony. Drug evaluation and treatment. Supervised probation. If successful in treatment, reduction to Class 1 misdemeanor.
Under Code of Washington (2011):
- 41.020. Prohibited acts. Class B felony.
- 50.403. Prohibited acts. Class C felony (up to two years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $2,000).
Under Code of West Virginia (2011):
- Section 60A-4-403. Prohibited acts C. Felony (between one and five years in penitentiary and/or up to $30,000 fine).
- Section 60A-4-410. Prohibited acts — Withholding information from practitioner. Misdemeanor (up to nine months in jail and/or fine of up to $2,500).
Under Wisconsin Statutes (2011):
- 11. Prescription drugs and prescription devices. Fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months imprisonment. Delivery is a Class H felony.
- 43. Prohibited acts C. Class H felony.
Under Wyoming Statutes (2011) Section 35-7-1033. Unlawful acts; distribution; registration; possession; records; counterfeiting. Misdemeanor (up to six months in prison and/or up to $750 fine) and substance abuse assessment for 1st offense. 2nd offense – up to one year imprisonment and/or up to $1,000 fine and substance abuse assessment. Subsequent offenses – felony – Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- University of Albany. The Problem of Prescription Drug Fraud and Misuse. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/problems/prescription_fraud/
- Prescription Drug Fraud and Abuse. (2014, Aug. 20). Retrieved from http://lab.express-scripts.com/lab/insights/drug-safety-and-abuse/infographic-prescription-drug-fraud-and-abuse