As law enforcers battle the illegal prescription drug trade, pharmacists sometimes are asked by officers involved in stings to break the law by filling prescriptions they know to be fraudulent, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The suspects are arrested outside the stores with drugs in hand. Police encourage the pharmacists because it provides better evidence. But filling fraudulent prescriptions violates both federal and state law and could put a pharmacist’s professional license at risk. The stings put pharmacists at peril and turn them from health care providers to an arm of law enforcement, the Florida Pharmacy Association says.
“We are not trained to be in law enforcement,” said Michael Jackson, vice president of the Florida’s largest trade group for pharmacists. Retail giant Wal-Mart has an internal policy prohibiting its pharmacists from participating in such stings, which “may threaten the safety of customers and associates,” court records state. Florida law does not directly provide legal cover for a pharmacist who fills a prescription they know to be fraudulent, experts say, although it is highly unlikely a pharmacist would face license sanctions or criminal charges for participating in a sting.