A major challenge with printed paper prescriptions and prescription pads is that they advertise prescribers’ DEA numbers in plain sight. This leads to theft of prescription pads, fraudulent use of DEA numbers, and inappropriate access to highly addictive and potent medications. These fraudulent activities directly contribute to prescription drug abuse, which contributed to more than 25,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2014.
A recent survey revealed that about 10% of prescribers admitted to having their DEA number stolen, or compromised. In addition, 29% of the prescribers know a colleague who has fallen prey to DEA number fraud. A stolen DEA number can lead to hundreds if not thousands of fraudulent prescriptions.
When a prescriber’s DEA number is stolen or compromised there are several things that can occur. First, the prescriber may not be able to prescribe for a number of weeks, or possibly months, while the DEA processes their new number. Second, a comprehensive investigation into the incident, involving the institution’s Board of Physicians or Board of Advanced Practice Nurses. This can take a significant amount of time and can be an arduous process. Any physician found guilty of engaging in the theft of a DEA number can be stripped of their medical license and face punitive damages.
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