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W.Va. authorities get suspected ‘doctor shopper’ list

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy has given police the names of 90 suspected “doctor shoppers,” who solicited an excessive number of prescriptions for pain pills over the past year.

A pharmacy board committee generated the list after reviewing the state’s controlled-substances database. One of the individuals obtained prescriptions for painkillers from 34 doctors. Others picked up prescriptions from multiple doctors who practice in different parts of the state.

“You have someone on a 30-day supply, and then they’re getting two or three other prescriptions in the same month,” said Mike Goff, a pharmacy board administrator who oversees the controlled-substances monitoring program. “Those are the ones who are the clear problems, the ones law enforcement will look at further.”

The pharmacy board recently passed along the 90 names to the West Virginia State Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Those agencies are sharing the information with city and county law enforcement officers. The prescription data hasn’t led to any arrests yet, but police are working with federal and county prosecutors, Goff said.

“The doctor-shopping crime happens when a patient tells a doctor, ‘My back is hurting, and I need this medication, and, no I haven’t seen any other doctors but you,’” Goff said. “The patient is misleading the doctor in trying to get pills. They’re hitting up multiple doctors and lying to them to get prescriptions.”

Some people who landed on the list might have a legitimate reason for securing pain pill prescriptions from a dozen or more doctors, said David Potters, the pharmacy board’s executive director. Police officers are expected to interview doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals before making arrests… 

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