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Preventing medication errors through eRx

How to curb the prescription forgery epidemic

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Australia, including obtaining them through prescription fraud. So how can we leverage the right technology to stop this from becoming a full-blown forgery epidemic?

Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated

Prescription fraud is one of the most common methods for obtaining pharmaceutical drugs for illegitimate personal use and diversion onto the black market. Now with the advent of professional publishing software and low cost laser printers, it has become even more sophisticated.

According to Rodwell, Ringland and Bradford’s findings published in the Criminal Justice Bulletin, offenders even alter dosage, dates and strength of medications on legitimate prescriptions. For instance, in New South Wales, fraudulent prescription requests for oxycodone more than tripled from 1995 to 2007, overtaking benzodiazepines as the most sought after prescription drug. These findings were further explored in a report published by Griffith University, Prescription fraud: A comparison of pharmacists' and laypersons' perceptions of suspicious prescription presentation behaviour.

Using technology to fight prescription fraud

As the gate-keepers to medications, pharmacists have a fundamental duty to assess the authenticity of prescriptions and fight prescription fraud on the frontline.

Implementing patient safety measures is a quick and simple way to not only reduce medication errors for patients, but also improve dispensing efficiency. With eRx Script Exchange, barcodes are printed on your scripts for the pharmacy to scan and download. This removes the risk of transcribing errors during dispensing, providing you with more confidence that your patients receive exactly what you prescribed.

Importantly, eRx has also helped pharmacists identify certain cases of prescription fraud, as shown in a case study that is now used for pharmacy training. In one instance, a pharmacist in Mackay received a paper script for Oxycontin that looked completely authentic. However, when she scanned the eRx barcode, amoxicillin medication information appeared. She rang the doctor to confirm and uncovered a sophisticated forgery.

eRx Script Exchange is free for doctors and patients. It also helps qualify you for ePIP which can be worth around $50,000 for your practice.

To find out more click here.

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