Urgent notice from the Department of Health regarding prescription forgeries for Promethazine with Codeine.
The Washington State Department of Health Pharmacy Investigators have reported a significant rise in forged prescriptions for Promethazine with Codeine across the state of Washington. Promethazine with Codeine, a scheduled V controlled substance, has been used for years as a cough medication. To abusers, it is more commonly known as “Purple Drank”. The “Purple Drank” is a combination of Promethazine with Codeine often mixed with a soda such as Sprite or Mountain Dew and candies like Jolly Ranchers can be crushed and mixed in for additional flavor.
We have seen an increase in forged prescriptions for Promethazine with Codeine and they have been unknowingly filled across Washington State by pharmacists in recent months. Pharmacists should be on the alert for Promethazine with Codeine prescriptions and perform due diligence in confirming that the prescription is legitimate. Look for common red flags such as a prescription being presented right before closing, an out-of-the-area prescriber you do not recognize, a patient you do not recognize, a large quantity or exact quantity for “473mL”, or a cash paying patient you do not know.
In addition to forged prescriptions, we have had reports that perpetrators are jumping the pharmacy counters during open pharmacy business hours and stealing promethazine with codeine stock bottles right off the shelf. It is suspected that the perpetrators watch for ideal times of the day when shift changes occur leaving the pharmacies more susceptible with minimal staff on duty.
I made sure to inform the staff and re-looked at our liquids section to see if the Promethazine with Codeine stock bottle was within site of the drop off and pick up sections of our store. Although I could see liquid bottles, I was unable to make out the names/label of each bottle. Thank you for this update, and reminding us that isn't always the "CII" that are being seeked.