Tip of the Week – Identifying Potential Prescription Forgery


Prescription forgery is commonly used to access controlled, narcotic and/or other medication(s) with abuse potential. Pharmacy technicians are often the first point of contact for patients and play an important role in identifying prescription forgeries. To help mitigate potential diversion attempts use a systematic approach when assessing prescriptions. Consider the following:

  • Is the patient a regular client of your pharmacy? Do you have a medication profile for them? If the patient is new, does it seem reasonable for them to be using your pharmacy? Do they live in the area? Are they visiting from out of town and staying at a nearby hotel or with family?
  • Has the patient had this prescription before? Is the prescription written in a way that is consistent with previous fills?
  • Do you know the prescriber? Does this prescription look to be written in a consistent style matching that prescriber’s habits/handwriting/electronically generated font/layout?
  • Keep an eye out for unusual abbreviations or symbols, directions that are written out in full, spelling errors, unusual quantities, and alterations to quantities or strength.
  • Does the patient seem to be in a hurry? Is the patient attempting to fill the prescription late at night or on the weekend when prescribers may be harder to contact? Does the patient’s urgency seem reasonable given the date the prescription was written?

Applying a consistent and systematic approach to assessing prescriptions can go a long way to preventing diversion. Let us know if you have additional “red flags” you look out for when assessing the legitimacy of a prescription.