2010

Australia has seen an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs, including obtaining them through prescription fraud. As the gate-keepers to medications, pharmacists have the opportunity to assess the veracity of prescriptions and those presenting them. The present study investigated how pharmacists detect deception in the context of prescription fraud, and whether their experience affects their levels of suspicion compared with non-experienced laypersons. An online survey was completed by 43 pharmacists and 110 laypersons. Pharmacists reported using a variety of methods to detect fraudulent prescriptions. When faced with indicators of drug use, as well as both reliable and unreliable indicators of deception (as determined from the literature), pharmacists were generally more suspicious than laypersons of all and more suspicious than laypersons of a hypothetical person displaying 'true' indicators of deception. However, both groups were misled by unreliable deception cues, and laypersons actually demonstrated more knowledge of deception cues than pharmacists.