Two Chicago physicians are charged with prescribing opioids to patients who had no legitimate need of them, according to a federal indictment announced on the Department of Justice’s website. According to the charges, the two prescribed high-dose narcotics such as fentanyl and oxycodone to patients without conducting a meaningful examination or medical tests. The doctors are accused of knowingly dispensing the drugs to patients whom they knew for a fact had no legitimate medical need for high-powered opioids.
Further, the two physicians are accused of colluding after one of the two named in the indictment lost his license to prescribe medicine. That physician used another physician to fill prescriptions, and now they are both going to be charged with fraud, trafficking controlled substances, and more. Another element of the crime is the fact that the physicians sought Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for the improper prescriptions.
The Opioid Crisis
Well before the pandemic began canceling plans last summer, the common term you would find in front of the word ‘epidemic’ is ‘opioid.’ Opioid dependency, encouraged by both doctors and pharmaceutical companies, was responsible for more deaths than the coronavirus. During quarantine, the numbers for both epidemics skyrocketed, but as more people were looking out for themselves and their families, the attention fell off the opioid epidemic which continues even after the DEA has targeted several doctors, pharmaceutical executives, and pharmacies for what they believed was criminal activity.
Many criminals in expensive suits are now facing lengthy prison sentences for racketeering. These charges are related to the funneling of legal prescription opioids into pill mills. Rural areas with only a couple thousand people were receiving shipments large enough to supply Chicago’s population with drugs. The drugs were then diverted to pill mills where they were sold on the streets for hard cash. The drug executives looked the other way while orders for opioids skyrocketed. Without questioning why they were sending hundreds of thousands of doses to areas populated sparsely, the companies raked in billions off the addiction of regular people who were being treated for things like knee replacements. These folks would get hooked on the drugs and then become customers for life. When their doctors cut them off, they would take to the streets to find their next fix, and there was plenty available.
Therein lies the sad tale of the opioid epidemic. American greed turning hard-working family people into addicts.
These prosecutions are part of the government’s plan to combat the opioid crisis. So far, they have managed to convict or charge eight-figure executives and doctors with crimes generally reserved for low-income street toughs. While these high-income criminals are not facing life sentences for drug trafficking like their lower-income competition, that could change. Drug dealers are technically responsible under the law if their product kills someone. Thus far, no doctors or executives have been charged with murder, but some states are more than willing to try.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are a doctor prescribing opioids with someone else’s DEA number, then you almost certainly need a lawyer. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.