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Pharmacies receiving fraudulent diazepam scripts, NPA warns

NPA: Pharmacists and their teams should ensure prescriber details are authentic
NPA: Pharmacists and their teams should ensure prescriber details are authentic

Pharmacy staff should be “vigilant” after a number of pharmacies in South Manchester have received fraudulent FP10 prescriptions for diazepam and pregabalin, the NPA has said.

Greater Manchester Police has told the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) that a number of pharmacies in South Manchester – “particularly [in] Wythenshawe and [the] immediate surrounding areas” – are being presented with false FP10 prescriptions (see main image and here).

The fraudulent prescriptions are signed by an unlicensed prescriber, and include 112 diazepam 10mg tablets, 84 nitrazepam 5mg tablets, and 56 pregabalin 300mg capsules, the NPA said on Tuesday (March 5).

The prescriber on the fraudulent prescriptions is Dr Cheyan Datta, who has not had a General Medical Council licence to practise since February 2017, the NPA explained.

The surgery on the prescriptions, The Village Medical Centre in Littleborough, Lancashire, has said the name of the patient requesting the medicines is not registered with them, the NPA added.

The handwriting of the prescriber and the patient on the prescriptions also have “similar traits”, it said.

Pharmacists and their teams need to be “vigilant” and “act accordingly” if any prescriptions look suspicious, the NPA advised.

This includes checking the prescriber details on the relevant professional register and, when necessary, contacting the prescriber to clarify medicine queries, the NPA said.

17 Comments
Question: 
Do you know what steps to take if you suspect a script is fraudulent?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Kids these days. You ALWAYS make it suppository, ALWAYS. No one ever questions the need for suppository formulation.

Oliver Staunton, Information Technology

So how did they pick up on this? Presumably the medication wasn't actually dispensed, although it's clearly been labelled and endorsed. The tablets formulation is a red herring, but I would hope most pharmacists would question all those benzos...

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

They've missed the trick round here , just dial 111 out of hours and a magic NUMSAS will give you all you want as the call centre don't have a clue what they are and swallow their pathetic pity stories and then i'm the bad guy cos i've refused them extra pregabalin for the weekend.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Granted, I've been out of community for 8 months now and haven't dealt with a referral so please correct me if I'm wrong - are NUMSAS requests for buprenorphine, methadone and temazepam still being seen? 

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

the ones i regularly get are pregabalin , gabapentin , mirtazapine, zopiclone fentanyl patches, morphine injection , ventolin, diabetic test strips and lancets at 6pm weekdays and 12.30pm saturdays when their 40 hour nominated pharmacy shuts , NIGHTMARE 

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

So, exactly as it was then, then.  Why not have a scheme whereby, I don't know, pharmacies could refer patients in so what patients take to be promises of medicine don't happen? #WeAllKnowTheAnswer

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

4 diazepam 10mg a day , has anyone had a script for that amount   ? let alone 3 nitraz at night  as a bonus . They should have added codeine 60mg 1 qds as well for good measure. Is it April fools day ?   

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

I have seen much higher than this. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I've actually seen a script for a lot higher Diazepam prescribed by a Mental Health specialist before. Although, we could have a wonderfully long conversation about how the NHS seems to be failing to treat mental health these days, particularly after working hours.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The article mentions

""fraudulent FP10 prescriptions""

But, the article talks only about 1 individual prescription !!! Am I reading it wrong???

Grace Lewis, Editorial

Thanks for flagging. We have asked the NPA to clarify.

Grace Lewis, Deputy Editor

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

No GP software I'm aware of ends drug descriptions with a full stop, it'd send NHSBSA computers mad!  Plus the Rx is asking for "pregabalin 300mg tablet"...

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Ben. That's just to fool us into thinking it's a genuine script

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Spot on. Also, if you don't question the use of Diazepam and Nitrazepam by the same patient on a single prescription (specially if not your regular patient), then we need to really check whether we are fit to be Pharmacists !!!

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Depends if you're checking the Rx whislt doing a MUR, NMS, EHC consultation, flu vaccination, checking ringworm on a child, preparing for a disciplinary for a membe of staff, eating your soggy sandwich for lunch, whilst speaking to the area manager about targets. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

"When in a rush, slow down." Is my motto. John Doe can wait a few extra minutes, although I'm sure they would attest to that fact!

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Or selling said soggy sandwich....

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