HealthSURVEY - Fake prescriptions: pharmacies face drug traffickers

SURVEY – Fake prescriptions: pharmacies face drug traffickers


“Today we received another batch of fake prescriptions, so I think we need to be extremely vigilant”. Stéphane Pichon warns his team at his pharmacy in Marseille: fake prescriptions are on the rise and you need to know how to spot them.

The pharmacist keeps track of every clue, every spelling mistake or turn of phrase, even if it means checking by calling practitioners who are supposed to be signing prescriptions. These very often confirm: they are not the authors. Drugs regularly return, which puts Stéphane Pichon on his guard: “Anti-cancer drug worth 4,000 euros per box”he explains in the TF1 report at the top of this article.

Medicines that are easy to get in France but very expensive abroad

This is one of the treatments most sought after by traffickers. These medicines, which are fully reimbursed in France, can be worth their weight in gold in some countries where patients pay a high price. The buyers that the Marseille pharmacist encounters are often unaware of the extent of the traffic they are dealing with in an attempt to get these medicines.

Dialed on social media under the promise of compensation, they only have to provide their name and their insurance number. Our journalist introduced himself on specialized forums, and he was very easily offered to earn 200 euros for a box of collected medicines. A prescription is written in her name, she only has to present it to the pharmacy.

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“We regularly have collectors who are arrested and who do not realize that they are entering into major criminal activity”, – explains an employee of the gendarmerie unit, specializing in the fight against drug trafficking. His unit patiently scoured the canals and confiscated several hundred thousand euros. “We have people upstairs who know very well what they are doing”– recalls the gendarme, showing us the organizational chart of the dismantled network, “and who live very well from this traffic”.

The networks are well organized and their members are often involved in the drug trade. Drugs are less dangerous and sometimes just as beneficial, says Sylvain Coret, head of the Central Office for Combating Attacks on the Environment and Public Health (OCLAESP). The total damage is estimated at several million euros by social security, and criminals face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of 75 thousand euros.


Editorial TF1info | Speaker: Maureen Bajac, Paul Gelly, Erinna Fourney

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Source: TF1

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