The Justice Department just announced that federal prosecutors are charging 60 doctors, pharmacists, medical professionals and others in connection with alleged opioid pushing and health care fraud. In total,31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners, and seven other licensed medical professionals were charged.
“The cases involve more than 350,000 prescriptions for controlled substances and more than 32 million pills — the equivalent of a dose of opioids for “every man, woman and child,” across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia.”1
These charges come less than four months after the Justice Department dispatched experienced fraud prosecutors across hard-hit regions in Appalachia.1 Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said, “You can rest assured, when medical professionals behave like drug dealers, the Department of Justice is going to treat them like drug dealers.”1
“In some examples, authorities pointed to ‘inordinately large quantities, 100 prescriptions per day,’ or other suspicious facts — such as prescriptions with no evidence of a patient having been physically examined.
In another episode, one doctor had a pharmacy operating outside his own waiting room.”1
Only time will tell how many of the defendants will fight the charges in court. If they do, The Justice Department will need to prove that prescriptions were written and “filled outside the course of normal medical practices”1 and that they had “no legitimate medical purpose.”1
According to the CDC, 130 Americans die every day of an opioid-related overdose.