Though it contains only two words, the term "prescription drugs" carries a number of very different connotations. To Americans in need of medication for pain relief or other legitimate reasons, prescription drugs are an important part of their overall healthcare. After all, opioid-based drugs such as Oxycontin are a key resource for people dealing with chronic pain from arthritis and other serious conditions.
To others, prescription drugs have a darker side. The danger from addiction - and death from overdose - is real. Public health authorities are therefore legitimately concerned about it.
Law enforcement authorities also have their concerns about prescription drugs. In recent years, they have increasingly targeted prescription fraud for prosecution. Authorities suspect that "doctor-shopping" and bogus clinics result in prescriptions that are not legitimate, with the drugs illegally sold. Healthcare fraud may also be involved, with Medicare and insurance companies receiving reimbursement claims for improper expenses.
In many states, these public health and law enforcement concerns have led to the creation of many prescription drug monitoring programs. The goal of such programs is to monitor which medications are being prescribed by doctors and fulfilled at pharmacies so that these prescriptions are legitimate.
Missouri does not have a prescription drug monitoring program. Some law enforcement authorities are concerned that this may inhibit efforts to crack down on prescription fraud.
It should be kept in mind, however, that overly aggressive monitoring programs could have a side effect. They could interfere with legitimate prescriptions for Americans who need relief from chronic pain and other conditions. In other words, prescription drugs play a vital role in pain relief; they are not synonymous with fraud.
Source: "Express Scripts cuts $500 million from drug fraud," St. Louis Business Journal, Samantha Liss, 1-18-13
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on prescription drug charges in St. Louis.