The PDL Professional Officers have been made aware of a situation where a person approaches dispensary staff and introduces themselves as a representative from a well-known drug company. PDL is advised that the person provides a company business card to support their alleged position. PDL would like to stress that this person is not an employee of any drug company and is acting as an individual.
The person is very convincing and seems to target younger pharmacists who may be more likely to engage and be compliant with the scammer’s enquiries. As part of the process, the person asks a pharmacist or intern about some S8 medicines, citing changes or discontinuation of products by the TGA or packaging changes.
In some cases, this discussion has led to an opportunity for the person to snatch a box of S8 medicine and quickly exit the pharmacy.
Pharmacists and staff need to be very cautious when approached by any person who claims to be an employee of a pharmaceutical company. Furthermore, PDL reminds pharmacists that access to the dispensary and medicines should be limited to employees and those authorised to be within this restricted space.
PDL encourages reporting any such event to the police, irrespective of whether a pharmacist has been a victim of this scam or just experienced the event without loss. In either case, please retain any CCTV images of the person including any footage of them in a vehicle to assist police with investigations.
PDL reminds pharmacists to report the theft of S8 medicines to their state or territory’s health department.
Forgeries on the rise
The PDL Professional Officers have also observed an increase in incidents relating to forged prescriptions. These forgeries are often Schedule 8 medicines but can also include other high-risk medicines such as diazepam and tramadol. The forgeries are often sophisticated and may include the use of a PBS Streamlined Authority Approval number.
PDL would like to remind pharmacists to be vigilant with prescriptions for S8 and other high-risk medicines. The PDL Practice Alert “Don’t fall for a forgery” outlines tips to help pharmacists detect forgeries before they are dispensed.
For immediate advice and incident support, call PDL on 1300 854 838 to speak with one of our Professional Officers. We are here to support our pharmacist members 24/7.