The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal and state agencies are cracking down on doctors writing prescriptions in exchange for cash. On May 20, 2015, the two owners of Physician’s Pain Specialists of Alabama clinic were arrested for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. According to the indictment, the two doctors conspired with each other to knowingly and willfully distribute and dispense Schedule II controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purpose; routinely ordered extremely expensive secondary urine drug tests, which were billed to patient’s insurance providers under false pretenses that the tests were necessary; and up-coded services performed by nurses because healthcare providers reimbursed services at a higher rate when performed by a physician.
Along with the arrests of the two doctors in Alabama, the DEA launched raids across Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and arrested more than 200 people in two days for their involvement in prescription pill abuses. More than 77 doctors, pharmacists, clinic managers, employees, and customers, were arrested for writing or buying prescriptions for cash. “Prescription drug abuse is the fasting growing drug problem in the country. It is particularly troubling to find doctors so complicit in this epidemic. We trust our doctors to heal our bodies, not poison our communities. We will not tolerate or accept this illegal behavior, and we will bring justice to those that condone this type of practice,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris.
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