Pharmacy Scams


The attached two faxes are part of a real pharmacy scam.  The patient and doctor identifiers have been blocked out. The name of the pharmacy is left intact.

Here is how the scam works.  The pharmacy uses readily available databases to identify patients with diabetes.  They claim they call the patient or get them to provide info from an online survey.  The pharmacy then faxes a request to the patient’s doctor requesting a prescription for diabetic supplies.  That’s just the start…

The doctor assumes this is the patient’s appropriate pharmacy and everything is legitimate. Then, the pharmacy goes for the real money grab.  On the same diabetic supply request, the pharmacy adds a series of overpriced supplements.  In this particular example, the pharmacy tacked on a prescription for fish oil with a pre-checked box.   A previous fax from the company on this same patient had a high priced ($800 or more)  version of a lidocaine-capsaicin-etc. compounded pain cream which has been documented as no better than placebo (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205102542.htm).

Tricare, started tracking the problem years ago and realized it had already been bilked out of $1.5 billion.  It’s still trying to stop it all.
https://www.military.com/militaryadvantage/2018/09/27/tricare-recoups-280-million-so-far-compound-drug-scams.html

Next, the doctor’s office receives authorization requests for expensive, overpriced and unnecessary back and knee braces.  
 
This particular fax caught my eye because it included an address and voice number, which is rare for such requests.  Typically, there is only a fax number. I did call the company and got a carefully worded explanation claiming the patient requested the prescriptions (the patient denied this).  They asked if I still wanted to approve the expensive arthritis cream.

Here is the problem with this scam: Everything is legal.  It is all insanely misleading and overpriced, but it is legal.  The pharmacy requires a doctor’s signature and the drugs are not dispensed until the doctor is tricked into signing the faxed prescription.  There are no financial kickbacks. No prescribing doctor is getting money.  There is no crime in the legal sense.

If you file a complaint with the Texas Board of Pharmacy, where this company is based, you are greeted with apathy.  If you complain to the insurance company, they are not interested. If you call Medicare, you get nowhere.  I’ve tried….So…. the scams continue and only a vigilant doctor’s office can stop this.

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