Prescription medication is incredibly dangerous in California if it is not used correctly. Painkillers like prescription opiates have contributed to the massive opiate addiction crisis in the US, and other prescription medications have similar addictive risks. There is an unhealthy incentive for doctors and patients who want drugs to work together to over-prescribe these medications, which is a form of fraud.
Overprescription supports addiction
Most doctors are responsible when issuing prescriptions and manage the quantity and type of medication they prescribe appropriately. However, some do not. They know that insurance companies will reimburse them for each prescription, so they are willing to over-prescribe dangerous medication to patients who seek them out for that purpose. “Doctor-shopping” is switching between doctors until you find one that is willing to over-prescribe. It’s against the law, but doctors might even take cash in exchange for writing prescriptions for addictive drugs.
Over-prescription fraud is a serious risk to public health. Many people start off with prescription drugs and then move on to street drugs when their addiction worsens. Health care systems usually have ways to try to detect both doctors and patients who over-prescribe fraudulently. However, these tools don’t always work correctly, and they can lead to criminal or civil cases against doctors who didn’t do anything wrong.
Over-prescribing is a serious form of fraud, but not all of the ways that health care providers use to detect that fraud work properly, and sometimes innocent doctors can get caught in the system. It’s important to be able to distinguish between those cases and instances of true and dangerous fraudulent use of prescriptions.