Can you face charges for sharing a prescription?

You might feel tempted to share some unused antibiotics with a friend who is sick and has no medical insurance, or to lend your sister a couple of your Xanax if she’s having trouble with anxiety during finals. It might seem harmless to hand out a few prescription pills, like you’re doing a favor for someone in need, but you and other Missouri residents need to understand that giving out prescription pills can be harmful. In fact, it can land you with criminal charges.

Prescriptions written by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist are only meant for the person to whom the drug was prescribed, explains FindLaw. As such, they are legally permitted only for the recipient to take. There are many reasons for this, including the following:

  • To restrict people illegally obtaining and selling prescription drugs
  • To prevent harmful and potentially deadly adverse effects, which might range from allergic hives to a reaction that lands someone in the hospital
  • To treat a patient based on his or her specific symptoms, weight, allergies, drug interactions and body chemistry

Also, you would want to consider the possibility of an unused antibiotic or other prescription going out of date, which might cause adverse effects on the person you are giving the medication to. If a harmful reaction occurs and your friend or relative ends up in the hospital, doctors will attempt to pinpoint the cause of the problem, which may lead to legal action, including criminal charges, being taken against you. Your best bet is helping your loved one obtain legal, competent medical care, rather than sharing your prescriptions. This information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.