VA U.S. attorneys issue statement regarding prescription fraud amid COVID-19 crisis


FILE – In this Nov. 5, 2018 file photo, a drugstore employee reaches for medicine from shelf in downtown Tehran, Iran. According to a study published in the British journal Lancet on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, researchers say a cheap daily pill that combines four drugs cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure in a large study, suggesting it could be a good way to prevent heart problems. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

ROANOKE, Va. (WAVY) – In response to the increase in demand for potential treatments for COVID-19, the Virginia Health Commissioner on Friday reminded physicians and pharmacists that life-sustaining medications should only be given under specified limited circumstances based on legitimate medical needs.

The drugs of concern are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, lupus, malaria, and bacterial infections.

Officials have confirmed an increased demand for the medications as well as potentially improper behavior by physicians and other healthcare providers who may be prescribing these drugs to themselves, their families, and others without a legitimate medical purpose.

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, in connection with the COVID-19 Fraud Task Force, will closely monitor prescriptions and are prepared to investigate potential violations of federal and state law related to these prescription drugs.

“At a time when many doctors, nurses, and first responders are risking their health and personal safety to treat those affected by the coronavirus, it is incredibly disturbing that a selfish minority in that field may be undermining these valiant efforts by prescribing outside legitimate medical practice,” said U.S. Attorney Cullen.

To report fraud directly to the FBI, click here.

“We will act swiftly in coordination with our law enforcement partners to safeguard these critical medications for those who need them against healthcare providers who improperly dispense them,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud and for more information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, please visit their website.

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