For the sake of public safety, physicians are bound by strict regulations when it comes to prescribing medications--and there are no "exceptions" to the rules when family members are involved. A doctor can risk losing their license to practice for any prescription violation, even if it's a "bending" of the rules to help someone. A UK doctor recently learned this lesson the hard way when his license was recently suspended for writing false prescriptions and filling them himself to give to a family member who was suffering pain during the pandemic.
According to reports, the doctor in question was seeking to help a family member who was struggling with pain and was unable to see a general practitioner during the COVID pandemic. Between January and April 2021, the doctor admitted to writing three false prescriptions for opiates in the name of three of his patients, filling the prescriptions himself, then giving the opiates to his family member. The discrepancy was first noticed by the pharmacy that filled the prescriptions--they followed up and discovered that one of the false prescriptions had not been delivered to the intended patient.
Prescription Violations, Family Members, and Your Medical License
While the above situation occurred in the UK, most medical licensing boards in the United States follow similar protocols when it comes to doctors failing to follow regulations in prescription writing--not to mention the federal regulations involved. In the medical field, prescriptions must only be written to treat a justifiable medical condition, and they must only be distributed to the patient who needs them, to maintain the integrity of the profession and overall patient safety. Falsely prescribing drugs can lead to allegations of fraud or even malpractice, as well as fines, license suspension or revocation, and possibly even criminal charges.
While physicians often have families that they care deeply about and naturally want to take care of, their intentions can sometimes lead to misguided actions with unforeseen consequences. In the example case above, the doctor's "good intentions" toward their family member still set the stage to cause harm in a couple of ways:
- Writing multiple prescriptions for opiates and giving them all to the family member created an increased risk of addiction. (It's quite possible the multiple prescriptions wouldn't have been honored if he'd written them for the family member directly.)
- Writing the false prescriptions created an entry in the patient records of all three patients who did not receive those prescriptions, which could impact the decisions other doctors might make regarding their future care.
License Defense for Physicians Who Make Prescription Mistakes
If you're a physician facing accusations of false prescription writing or other medical licensing board violations, it's important to take prompt action and obtain legal help from an experienced professional license defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can provide guidance on strategy and negotiate for leniency with the medical board, taking into account a variety of mitigating factors. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive nationwide experience navigating disciplinary matters, and he and his Professional License Defense Team can work to ensure you receive the most favorable outcome possible. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.