New York State Department of Health Launches Investigation into Theft of Stolen Prescriptions

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 10, 2011) - The New York State Department of Health has launched a full investigation into a reported theft of approximately 14,000 prescription forms from a downstate hospital, Commissioner Nirav Shah, M.D., M.P.H. announced today.

In response to a theft reported on November 8, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement within the Department of Health will be working with appropriate law enforcement and other agencies to take actions needed to prevent individuals from unlawfully acquiring controlled substances or other drugs.

Actions taken by the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement include alerting pharmacists of the heightened potential for counterfeit prescriptions, visiting the facility to review procedures, meeting with officials from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General's office, and posting the serial numbers of these diverted prescriptions onto an online system that allows pharmacists to identify stolen prescriptions.

"Crimes involving the illegal use and distribution of prescription drugs are a public health threat, and we will use all the resources at our disposal to combat the illegal diversion of prescriptions," Dr. Shah said.

Further details of the investigation will be reported as they become available.