Prescription-drug abuse is at an all-time high, especially among teenagers. Studies tell of millions of Canadians and Americans alike misusing prescribed drugs to the extent that these painkillers are now responsible for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Prescription theft and fraud is a leading form of prescription-drug diversion, and doctors and governments are constantly looking for better ways to prevent these crimes.
Rx Security has been helping in this fight for 22 years. Based in Nova Scotia, the firm makes customized, tamper-resistant products, including prescription pads, electronic-medical-record (EMR) paper, and discharge forms.
“Everything we sell is tamper resistant,” says Jake MacKinnon, vice president of logistics and planning. “That means the paper includes security features that prevent fraudulent attempts to alter the prescription.”
MacKinnon says these kinds of papers have been around for years, but recently, new security features have been added, including pantographs that reveal voids when photocopied, special security inks that change colour with temperature changes, and batch numbers that allow easy tracking of each prescription after they are prescribed.
In the early years, MacKinnon recalls, these security features weren’t recognized by governments or pharmacy boards, but today they are increasingly being written into federal, state, and province regulations.
While strong legislation is a step in the right direction, it can be challenging, because every US state, as well as an increasing number of Canadian provinces, have different guidelines. Rx Security maintains a variety of design templates and establishes a variety of production measures to ensure that orders can be turned around quickly. Production is performed in a secure facility, a mandate that is enforced by many of these same regulations.
With a multitude of regulations in existence, Rx Security needs to stay informed about all of them. “Doctors call and say they are not familiar with the regulations in their own state or province, and we have to tell them what their requirements are,” MacKinnon says.
And with an increasing amount of doctors using computers and EMR, many are printing prescriptions rather than handwriting them. Rx Security responded to this by offering a new product six years ago. This new, secure 8.5” x 11” EMR paper allows doctors to print their prescriptions onto secure forms using their own desktop printers. In the last 18 months, Rx Security launched a new type of EMR paper that includes the same security features as other EMR products, but allows for up to four prescriptions to be printed on each sheet, with perforations for tearing off.
Increased changes to production and workflow required radically different processes to achieve this efficiency. Several software contractors were approached, but only one could fit the bill. Colibri Software of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, quickly came in to organize the project, defining milestones and getting straight to work. These workflow changes have allowed Rx Security to maintain growth and workflow efficiency.
As part of its day-to-day responsibilities, Rx Security gets involved in community outreach related to drug abuse. The company sponsors several local law-enforcement organizations, as well as the New Brunswick division of Teen Challenge, a US-based organization that helps teens overcome drug abuse. Rx Security provides an annual scholarship to one chosen teen who graduates from the program and wants to go on to a university or college.
The rise in prescription theft and fraud is a direct result of rising prescription-drug abuse. While criminals get smarter every day, so do the folks at Rx Security, and they are committed to providing innovative and effective solutions that help combat the problem.