RGV Pharmacists Help Cut Down on Prescription Fraud

4 years 5 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, June 07 2017 Jun 7, 2017 June 07, 2017 5:32 PM June 07, 2017 in News

HARLINGEN - Rio Grande Valley pharmacists are taking extra steps to help stop prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands.

A Hidalgo County woman is awaiting her July 7 trial after being charged with three counts of obtaining controlled substances using fraudulent prescriptions.

Samantha Amelia Caratachea Rodriguez was arrested last August.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS went to Muniz Rio Grande Pharmacy in Harlingen to see how easy it is to use fake prescriptions to get drugs.

Dr. Michael Muniz said there are procedures in place to make sure fake prescriptions don’t get filled and they’re reported.   

"That's our main job as pharmacists to protect the public and so that's what we're really trying to do," explained Muniz.

Every pharmacy is required by the State of Texas Board of Pharmacy to report prescriptions they’ve filled for controlled substances within one week. At Muniz Rio Grande Pharmacy, they go an extra step to report every day.

“I think of it as, if this medication is out there can my kids get access to it?” said Muniz.

Reporting more often means a higher chance other pharmacies will quickly see where, when and how often patients are filling prescriptions.

Muniz said they have the power to stop cases like the one sent to trial Wednesday from ever happening

"We had a patient one time bring in a prescription from Houston who was seeing a doctor up there,” he explained. “We ran him through the system. We looked on the State Board of Pharmacy. We looked on the medical board to make sure the doctor was registered as a pain management clinic. And they were not. So that was a flag for us that this didn't seem right."

It was fraudulent, something Muniz said they report immediately so they can help protect the public.

Of the more than 33,000 opioid-related deaths reported in 2015, 1,186 of them were in Texas, according to Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Of the deaths, it’s unknown how many were due to prescription drug abuse of some kind.

Misuse of prescription drugs is the leading cause of overdose deaths.

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