In an effort to limit the number of people who go to multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for the same type of pain medication, Florida law enforcement has begun enforcing a 2003 statute, Florida Statute § 893.13(7)(a)8, that makes it a felony for a person to go to more than one doctor to obtain identical medication before a refill is allowed for the first prescription. Section 893.13(7)(a)8., Florida Statutes (2008), also known as the “doctor shopping” statute, provides that it is unlawful for any person:
To withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.
People’s names, whether paying in cash or by insurance, credit card or otherwise, are entered into a data bank that “cross references” the person’s name with the narcotics they purchase. If a person’s name shows that he or she got Lortab’s for instance from pharmacy A on June 4, 2010 using a prescription from Dr. Jones, and then again filled a prescription from Pharmacy B for Lortabs on June 15, 2010 using a prescription from Dr. Smith, law enforcement authorities are notified by the computer system that monitors these purchases and there exists a high probability that law enforcement will attempt to interview and subsequently arrest the person who appears to be doctor shopping. Law enforcement officers may ask the doctor if he or she were aware that the patient was also seeing Dr. Smith and receiving a prescription for Lortabs (or xanax, valium, oxycodone, percoset, hydrocodone (generic Lortabs), etc. prior to the date of the next refill allowed by your prescription. Of course the doctor is not aware of this and the police can then obtain a warrant for the “doctor shopper’s’ arrest on felony charges. Many narcotic type prescription drugs however require a face to face meeting with the doctor on a monthly basis in order for the doctor to refill the prescription. The doctor shoppers in these cases see multiple doctors and go to multiple pharmacies to have their scripts refilled. Florida is also one of the few states that allow these pain clinics to dispense medication themselves.
One of the highest profile cases in recent years dealing with the “doctor shopping” statute referenced above involves right-wing nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh. If interested you can read the appellate opinion of his case by clinking on this link: Limbaugh v. State. Mr. Limbaugh was represented by the consummate professional Florida attorney Roy Black, Esq.