What is Doctor Shopping?
Doctor shopping laws are relatively new laws in Florida which make it illegal to obtain prescription drugs from a doctor by fraud, deceit or by attempting to obtain the same prescription from a different doctor within the last thirty (30) days. Certain prescription drugs are considered narcotics and are Drug Enforcement Administration scheduled controlled substances. A doctor is not legally allowed to prescribe these types of medications to the same patient within thirty (30) days absent some exceptions. Certain controlled substances that are prescribed must be reported to a registry created to monitor the dispensing of these types of medications. This is in response to an increase in abuse by some of opioids.
There are many problems with these new laws. If a patient receives a prescription from a doctor there is not necessarily any criminal intent if the doctor did not ask the patient whether they have received a prescription for the same medication within the past 30 days. All doctors should be having patients verify in writing that they have not done so. The registry may show that a patient received or was prescribed the same medication within the last 30 days from a different doctor but this does not show any criminal intent on the part of the patient.
One of the other problems is that medical records are by law confidential. Law- enforcement does not have access to medical records without an order of the court or a release from the patient. HIPAA (or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws prevent disclosure of information even if that information provides evidence of a crime.
If you have been charged with doctor shopping contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled these types of cases before.