Health and Safety Code 11173 HSC
HSC 11173 – ‘Doctor Shopping’ Prescription Fraud
Doctor Shopping Prescription Fraud – Table of Contents
It is unlawful to procure the administration of a prescription for controlled substances by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge; or by the concealment of a material fact to get a prescription for a controlled substance by assuming any title of, or representing to be, a manufacturer, wholesaler, pharmacist, physician, dentist, veterinarian, registered nurse, physician’s assistant, or other authorized person; or affix any false or forged label to a package or receptacle referencing a controlled substances.
What is the mental state required for a violation of HSC 11173?
The mental state required for a specific intent crime is knowingly. Knowingly is a conscious understanding of the circumstances and facts of the act desired.
It includes, from a reasonable person standard an objective understanding of the natural and probable circumstances that evolve from the results of completing the objective desired.
As applied to Health and Safety Code 11173, a person must be consciously aware that their conduct involves the obtaining a prescription for themselves or others by misrepresenting a fact, or the assumption of an identity or source of authorization of a medical professional that can when that person is not legally entitled to do so; or doing the same by simply placing a label prescribing a medication that misrepresents a fact or assumes an identity or source of authorization from a medical professional.
What is fraud or deceit as defined under Health and Safety Code 11173?
Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of a material fact, concealment of a material truth that concerns a statement or an assumption of an identity that another person relies upon to their detriment for the personal gain of the person who misrepresented.
A violation of Health and Safety Code 11173 HSC is chargeable either as a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor, penalties include confinement not exceeding 1 year in jail with fines not exceeding $1000 dollars. As a felony, penalties include confinement terms of 16 months, 2, or 3 years in prison with fines not exceeding $10,000 dollars.
What are examples of violations of Health and Safety Code 11173 HSC?
- A nurse had a sick son and could not afford the prescription for the 100 mg of Seroquel required to treat him. Since she worked at a clinic, she had at her disposal physician scripts. When the doctor went to lunch the nurse wrote his signature on a script and took the prescription to her local pharmacist after work to get her son medication. The day after she told the doctor about what she did. He did not have an issue and did not report the matter. What he did not know was that she wrote a prescription for 800 mg rather than 100 mg. As a result of the prescription, her son went into a coma after she self-administered the medication to him. An investigation ensued from the Medical Board because the doctor reported the matter. After an administrative hearing for which the doctor lost his license; he was investigated by the District Attorney’s office. The doctor and the nurse were arrested.
- A prospective patient went to three doctors in one day. The first, he stated that he was depressed and needed medication. The second, he stated he needed sleep medication. The third, he stated he needed medication to retain motility in his sperm count. All three doctors wrote a prescription for him. The prospective patient did not have any of the symptoms. At each visit the patient stated on the intake form that he was not seeing other doctors, and that he did not have any symptoms relating to what he sought treatment from each respective doctor. When he went to the local pharmacy the pharmacist verified the prescription. The patient was arrested.
- Mistake in Law – The prescription was not for a controlled substance listed as a category I, II or III.
- Mistake in Fact – There was intent to write a false prescription representing a medical practitioner but the practitioner at issue once he became aware of the matter endorsed the prescription after assessing the patient.
If you are charged with a violation of Health and Safety Code 11173 HSC, call The Esfandi Law Group. Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Seppi Esfandi, principal attorney of The Esfandi Law Group.
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