Here’s something unusual that you may be interested in hearing about if you think you could be charged for a patient abusing his or her prescription. According to an article from Jan. 4, many doctors in Texas, even those who have violated prescription drug laws, have little to worry about when it comes to prosecution. It’s been found that even though there was a 2010 law to crack down on illegal prescribing, fewer than one-third of 83 doctors being punished for drug law violations in the last three years in Texas had criminal charges filed against them.
Some of those doctors are still in practice, while others gave up their licenses. Some choose to retire. In one case, three people died due to problems with overdosing thanks to the prescriptions for pain medications from a doctor. He has lost his ability to treat chronic pain patients, but he was not charged with a crime. The families allegedly were stunned he didn’t lose his license or worse. In fact, that doctor went to court in a civil lawsuit and defended the prescriptions. He said that the care was appropriate for the patient who had overdosed, but the documentation wasn’t filed correctly.
Interestingly, the Texas Medical Board does not have the authority to impose criminal charges on doctors. It can act administratively on the doctor’s license. It’s been reported that if the board acts in a case first, the likelihood of a criminal case also being brought to court is lower.
In reality, these prescriptions, some of which were given illegally, could lead to drug charges for the doctors involved if the case went to court. If yours goes to court and you need to defend yourself, you need someone on your side. With some help, you can show that you had the best intentions for your patient.
Source: The Washington Times, “Texas doctors rarely charged in prescription abuse” Mary Ann Roser, Jan. 04, 2015