Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

What is doctor shopping? Is it a felony?

Doctor shopping is a serious problem in the United States. It may lead to felony charges that can result in long-term prison sentences and fines. It specifically refers to patients who go to various doctors to obtain prescriptions for the same drugs. Usually, those drugs are opiates or other narcotics.

When you doctor shop, you seek out the same drug and get a number of prescriptions. Sometimes, these come with refills. You'd then take those prescriptions to different pharmacies, allowing you to obtain more of the drugs than you should have by law or than you could get from a single doctor. Many who do this obtain the narcotics to sell them on the street or to abuse them to get high.

If you're accused of doctor shopping, take this charge seriously. It may be a misunderstanding, but it's in your best interest to defend yourself right away. As a patient, it is illegal to obtain drugs through deceit, misrepresentation, concealment of material fact, fraud or subterfuge.

The truth is that you could be accused of doctor shopping even if you didn't. For example, if you went out of town and ran out of a drug, you might have to see a new doctor and ask to have it prescribed. Upon returning home a month later, you might get your normal refill. Then, you may change doctors and ask to have the same drug refilled. It might look like you're shopping for extra prescriptions when really it was just a number of coincidences that sent out a red flag. Your attorney can help you build a strong defense that helps explain your actions.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Doctor Shopping Laws," accessed March 09, 2017

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