President Trump’s U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently upped the ante against fraud, abuse, and profiteering in the medical and pharmaceutical industry by announcing charges against 601 people, particularly 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, and 19 nurses. These frauds allegedly totaled over US$2 billion in losses and contributed to the nation’s opioid epidemic in some cases.
Of the 601 people, about 162 doctors and other suspects were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioid painkillers.
The U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in his speech: “This year we are charging 601 people, including 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses, and other medical personnel with more than $2 billion in medical fraud. In this latest operation, with the help of our fabulous partners at HHS, we have charged another 162 people—including 32 doctors—with the illegal distribution of opioids. This is the most doctors, the most medical personnel, and the most fraud that the Department of Justice has ever taken on in any single law enforcement action. This is the most defendants we’ve ever charged with health care fraud. It’s also the most opioid-related fraud defendants we’ve ever charged in a single enforcement action.”
Many of the cases involved a variety of schemes to fraudulently bill government healthcare programs. One doctor, explained Sessions, even defrauded Medicare of more than US$112 million, distributing 2.2 million unnecessary and uncalled-for drug doses like fentanyl and oxycodone.
The Pharma and Healthcare Industry is a Big Criminal Drug Racket
The crackdown by President Trump was supposed to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the opioid problem is an epidemic because it caused more than 42,000 deaths from opioid overdose in the U.S. in 2016.
Although the DOJ crackdown was widespread and investigations were focused on some opioid manufacturers like OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, a majority of the cases covered in the sweep did not focus on frauds committed by major corporations.
Most of the wrongdoers named in the sweep were medical professionals who authorities said had contributed to the country’s opioid epidemic by helping in the unlawful distribution of prescription painkillers. Some of these “criminal doctors and drug companies” who profited from the mass distribution of opioids were 1) a Pennsylvania doctor alleged to have billed an insurer for illegally prescribed opioids; 2) Florida anesthesiologist accused of managing a “pill mill” business; and a 3) Texas pharmacy chain owner and two other people accused of ordering opioids that were sold to drug couriers.
These shenanigans are further proof that many “health care” professionals are nothing but glorified drug dealers.
What do you think of this DOJ witch hunt against opioid abusers? Share your thoughts in the comments below?