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The government’s war on drugs continues to harm members of our society who are suffering from prescription drug abuse. Not only that, but the laws surrounding drug use can also harm members of our society who are using prescription drugs for their prescribed purpose. 

If you have been accused of a prescription drug crime in Florida, Tampa drug crime lawyer Andrew Buda is here to help. His experience in handling criminal cases gives him the knowledge and skill needed to provide you with sound legal advice and support, ensuring that you receive the best outcome for your case.

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To schedule a free consultation with an experienced prescription drug fraud lawyer, call our law firm at (813) 322-2832.

What is Prescription Fraud?

We’re all familiar with different forms of fraud like bank fraud, tax fraud, and mail fraud, but what is prescription fraud? Prescription drug fraud is when someone obtains prescription drugs through deceptive means. It often involves the use of false information, forged documents, or other deceptive practices in order to gain access to various pharmaceutical drugs.

Types of Prescription Fraud

Due to how broad the category of “fraud” can be, there are many different types of prescription drug fraud that people can commit. Florida Statute § 499.0051 outlines many different prescription drug crimes related to fraud, including illegal dispensation of prescription drugs, illegal possession of prescription drugs, and more.

Forging Prescriptions

Under Florida law, it is illegal to knowingly forge prescription labels for any reason. These labels are used to identify what a certain drug is, what it’s being used for, who it was prescribed to, and who it was prescribed by. Many people may create false prescription labels to make it seem like they have a legitimate, legal prescription for a certain medication when they do not. 

perscription forgery

Doctor Shopping

Another common form of healthcare fraud is doctor shopping. The term “doctor shopping” refers to the practice of visiting multiple doctors in a short amount of time for the same health issue in order to obtain multiple prescriptions. 

Under Florida Statute § 893.13(7)(a)8, if you are looking for a controlled substance or a  prescription of a controlled substance from a physician, you have to disclose if you have already received that medication or a prescription for that medication from another doctor in the past 30 days. 

Illegal Dispensation by Healthcare Providers

Illegal dispensation by healthcare providers refers to the unauthorized or unlawful distribution of prescription drugs by healthcare providers. This may include doctors, pharmacists, or other professionals who are authorized to prescribe or dispense medications. This prescription drug crime can include actions such as:

  • Dispensing medications to individuals without proper authorization
  • Dispensing controlled substances without adhering to regulations and requirements 
  • Engaging in unlawful prescription practices, such as prescribing medications inappropriately or exceeding established limits
  • Failure to maintain accurate records surrounding drug dispensation
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Possession of a Prescription Drug without a Prescription

Under Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a), it is a criminal offense to actually or constructively possess a prescription drug if you do not have a legitimate prescription for it from a licensed healthcare professional. Actual possession is when a person has the drug on their person, whereas constructive possession is when someone has knowledge of and control over a drug, like in their car.

The severity of the punishment depends on the type of drug as well as the quantity of the drug that a person has in their possession.

Fraudulent Prescription Acquisition

Fraudulent prescription acquisition is the act of obtaining a prescription for a medication through the use of false claims or deception. This is outlined in Florida Statute § 893.13(7)(a)13 and can be committed in various ways, including through the use of deceit, forgery, theft, or impersonation of another person.

health care fraud attorney

Online Prescription Fraud

Like other forms of fraud, health care fraud can be committed through online channels. Prescription crimes that are committed through the use of online means are considered to be forms of online prescription fraud. 

This can include providing a medical professional with false information in an online medical consultation or using an unauthorized online pharmacy for prescription medication. 

Insurance Fraud Related to Prescription Drugs

According to Florida Statute § 817.234, it’s also considered healthcare fraud to provide false statements to insurance providers for the sake of obtaining coverage for prescription medication from an insurance company or healthcare benefit program. These false “statements” can include false prescriptions or invoices for medications. 

Under the False Claims Act, it’s against federal law to make false statements to the federal government, so those who commit Medicaid fraud related to prescription drugs can also be charged with a federal crime.

Theft of Prescription Drugs or Prescription Pads

Just like it is illegal to possess prescription drugs that aren’t yours, it is illegal to steal prescription drugs from other individuals or medical providers. It is also illegal to steal a prescription pad from a medical provider or to possess a prescription form without an authorized signature on it. This excludes certain individuals like doctors and pharmacists who are authorized to possess prescription forms for legitimate medical purposes.

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What are the Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud Charges in Florida?

Prescription drug crimes can lead to severe penalties like hefty fines and potential jail time. The severity of the consequences often depends on the specific nature of the crime, the type and quantity of drugs involved, and the individual’s prior criminal record.

Many types of drug crimes are felony offenses, and being charged with a felony can affect various aspects of a person’s life. It can ruin their reputation, make it harder for them to find employment or housing, and prevent them from voting in elections. Also, while they tend to carry lesser punishments, misdemeanor crimes can also cause people to experience significant roadblocks in life.

Why You Need Help From an Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Law Firm Like Buda Law

In Florida, drug crimes are prosecuted heavily, which means they require a strong defense in order to effectively fight against them. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced drug crime attorney on your side to defend against these charges. If you are facing charges of prescription drug crimes in Florida, Buda Law is the trusted legal partner you can turn to.

Attorney Andrew Buda has experience working as a prosecutor as well as a criminal defense lawyer, so he has a unique advantage when it comes to defending his clients. He knows exactly what strategies his opposition will use and can prepare arguments to use against them in court.

Additionally, Attorney Buda can provide you with the personal support and professional legal counsel you need to get through this trying time. He understands how the Florida criminal defense system works and can help you navigate your way through it and out of it.

Defense Strategies for Prescription Fraud

Those accused of prescription drug crimes need a strong defense strategy that can challenge the prosecution’s claims as well as their evidence. Luckily, a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney like Andrew Buda will know exactly which defense or defenses to use in a given case.

One of the most common defenses against prescription medication fraud is proving a lack of intent to commit fraud. If a person is given a forged prescription that they believed was legitimate, they did not have intent to defraud and may not be penalized or may receive a lessened punishment.

Another common defense is proving that the prescription was a medical necessity and was needed for a legitimate reason. If a person is wrongfully accused of illegally possessing or obtaining a controlled substance, despite having a valid, verifiable prescription for it, they can prove their prescription was valid in court.

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Call Tampa Drug Crime Defense Attorney Andrew Buda Today

If you have been accused of a prescription drug crime in Tampa or the surrounding area, you need a skilled attorney to stand by your side and defend your rights. Tampa, FL prescription fraud lawyers like Andrew Buda are experienced in handling drug crime charges, including those involving prescription medications.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is here to listen, guide you through the legal process, and craft a robust defense tailored to your unique circumstances. With a track record of success, a client-centric approach, and in-depth knowledge of prescription drug laws, Attorney Buda is ready to stand by your side and defend your best interests.

Call our law firm at (813) 322-2832 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation regarding your case today.


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