x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Alert over lost drug prescriptions

Thirty-six forms feared stolen from capital healthcare unit.

ABU DHABI // Pharmacies are being urged to be on the alert for dozens of drug prescriptions thought to have been stolen from an Abu Dhabi healthcare facility.

The Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (Haad) did not say which hospital or clinic had lost the 36 forms or whether it was public or private. The forms are specifically for controlled drugs.

Haad is urging pharmacies to watch for prescriptions with serial numbers from 631714 to 631750.

"The medical facility contacted us to let us know that some prescription forms have disappeared from a prescription pad," said Dr Osama Abu Shaban, Haad's head of health quality audit for pharmaceutical facilities. "We, in turn, issued a circular to all pharmaceutical facilities so they do not dispense any medication on those specific prescription forms."

Prescriptions for controlled medications are numbered and issued by Haad. They are used for medicines that are addictive and potentially dangerous, and could be abused, such as Valium and Xanax.

"These missing prescription forms do not apply to narcotics, which are a totally different care and are only dispensed in hospitals," he said.

Pharmacists have been told to check their records and notify a narcotics officer at Haad on 02 419 3375 or the compliance team on 02 419 3276 if they have already dispensed the missing prescriptions.

They have been told to contact Haad and the police if the forms are presented for dispensing.

"There are mandates for facilities to get the identification of each person who tries to get controlled medication, so whenever someone tries, we will know who they are," Dr Abu Shaban said.

Stolen prescriptions are reported approximately once every six months, he said. Haad issued a similar circular in March, when eight forms, again for controlled medication, went missing.

"Doctors need to be more careful with their prescription forms and prescriptions pads," said Dr Abu Shaban.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae