The manager of a Fife medical practice was an addict who repeatedly forged prescriptions in the name of a patient to obtain drugs for her own use, a court has heard.
Deborah Thow was warned she could be facing a jail sentence when she admitted the scam at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Thursday.
Thow, 38, of Droverhall Place, Crossgates, admitted that between May 11 and June 13 last year at Asda Halbeath, Johnson’s Pharmacy, Cardenden, Benarty Medical Centre and elsewhere she formed a fraudulent scheme to obtain a quantity of medication.
The charge continued that, as office manager of Benarty Medical Centre and without authority from a medical practitioner, she generated a quantity of repeat prescriptions, printed and signed them using the name of a medical practitioner and also in the name of a patient.
She then presented the prescriptions to employees of the pharmacies, pretending they were genuine, that she had authority to obtain medication on behalf of the patient and fraudulently induced them to dispense medication.
Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia said the accused had previously been suspended from her job in 2012 following an incident where she obtained a box of co-codamol by means of a false prescription. On that occasion she was given a final warning and the matter was not reported to the police.
On May 11 last year she went to Asda in Halbeath, handed over a prescription in the name of a man who was a patient at her practice and obtained two boxes of co-codamol.
On June 7 she returned there with a prescription in the name of the same man and obtained another two boxes of the drug.
On June 13 she went to Johnson’s, Cardenden, where she asked for an extra box of co-codamol to be added to her practice’s stock order. She was recognised as an employee of the practice and was given the medication.
However, a few days later suspicions were raised at the pharmacy over Thow’s actions and Benarty Medical Practice was contacted.
She was called to a meeting by the practice where she confirmed she had obtained the drugs for her own use.
Her employment was terminated and the police were contacted.
Officers made inquiries at the pharmacies and viewed CCTV images which showed medication being dispensed to Thow.
“There was an alert place on her file with her GP that she wasn’t to get co-codamol as she was addicted to it,” added the depute fiscal. “She printed off the prescriptions and took them to the chemists.”
Sheriff Craig McSherry called for reports and strongly advised Thow, who appeared without a solicitor, to seek legal representation before returning to court for sentencing on May 13.