What is crime-related “doctor shopping” in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2023 | Uncategorized |

Patients are always told that they have a right to be comfortable with their doctors, so they’re usually encouraged to find one with whom they relate.

Sometimes, that means firing a doctor that they don’t like and “shopping around” for someone better. There’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you keep in mind the rules.

You need to keep all your doctors informed

Georgia law specifically makes it a felony-level crime to withhold information from a physician or another medical provider when it comes to the fact that you’ve already received “a controlled substance of a similar therapeutic use in a concurrent time period” from some other provider. It’s also a crime to obtain a controlled substance through any kind of “misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, subterfuge, or theft.”

What does this mean? In essence, you can’t see a doctor and obtain a prescription for painkillers, muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, stimulants or any other similar drugs and then allow another doctor to prescribe you something more for the same condition without telling them about the prescriptions you already have.

The intent behind the law is to keep patients from hopping from one medical practice to the next in search of opioid prescriptions (or anything similar). While the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) has been created to help doctors spot patients who are trying to finagle prescriptions out of them for controlled substances, no monitoring system is perfect.

Mistakes can lead to serious consequences

Unfortunately, patients don’t always understand the rules. Due to the increasing use of shared technology, for example, a patient may assume that their prior medical history – including every prior doctor they’ve seen or prescription they’ve been given – is at the next doctor’s fingertips. That can cause them to overlook their responsibility to personally make certain the new doctor is informed.

A conviction for violating the law in this area can lead to a felony record, a $50,000 fine and up to eight years in prison. If you’ve been accused of prescription drug fraud, don’t hesitate to explore all your legal defense options right away.