A 22-year-old Texas woman was found dead in her bathtub by her mother in November 2014 from the toxic effects of two drugs in the prescription pain cream that she used shortly before her death, which was prepared by a Texas compounding pharmacy. Shortly before her death, the young woman texted a friend, “Whoa … time for a shower, this lotion [the pain cream] is making me feel weird.”
The doctor who prescribed the woman’s pain cream had never examined her and had never spoken with her but he allegedly received a kickback for writing the prescription for the deadly pain cream. The 71-year-old physician and four other people who were connected to the compounding pharmacy that provided the pain cream were convicted of fraud involving the $17 million scheme. The owner of the pharmacy, who also owns other pharmacies in Texas, reportedly has been indicted for other fraudulent compounded cream schemes that resulted in billings allegedly totaling $143 million ($90 million of which involved one orthopedic surgeon who allegedly earned $1 million per month in kickbacks for prescribing pain creams and pain patches).
The largest pain cream fraud case in Texas to date involved over $100 million billed by a Texas pharmacy for allegedly unnecessary compounded scar creams and compounded pain creams that were provided to soldiers. Twelve people were indicted in 2016 involving the alleged scheme and some of them have pleaded guilty.
In 2012, a five-month-old baby in California died after accidentally ingesting a compounded cream that the baby’s mother had applied to her skin. Prosecutors contended that the doctor who had prescribed the compounded cream for the mother received a kickback, which resulted in the doctor, a pharmacist, and others being indicted in 2014 (that case has not yet been resolved).
Federal prosecutors in Texas are bringing similar fraud claims against physicians, pharmacies, and others for pain medications and scar treatment medications that they allege are dubious; some of these schemes resulted in federal health care programs being billed up to $28,000 for these compounded creams, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The federal prosecutors allege that pharmacy owners and marketers of the pain and scar creams paid illegal kickbacks and bribes to induce doctors to write prescriptions for the creams, and provided federal health care beneficiaries money and gifts to sign up to receive the creams. Some of the creams contained addictive medications and hallucinogenic drugs, according to federal prosecutors.
Two pending Texas cases allege that medical fraud netted over $180 million for the perpetrators. One Texas pharmacy allegedly paid $15 per compounded pain cream container but billed federal health care programs $28,000 per container (the pharmacy’s owner allegedly bragged about earning $1 million per day by compounding the scar and pain medications). As many as 28 people have been arrested in Texas involving pain cream schemes that resulted in at least $200 million fraudulently billed to federal health programs and workers’ compensation programs.
The topical pain creams could be dangerous for patients: some of the pain creams contained anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants that may not be effective in a topical cream and the creams may cause central nervous system depression or have cardiac effects that pose a danger to patients. Many of the compounded creams lacked safety data regarding possible drug interactions (some of the compounded creams contained up to ten different drugs).
If you or a family member may have been injured or suffered other harm as a result of a compounded pain cream or a compounded scar cream in the United States, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may be able to investigate your compounded cream claim for you and represent you in seeking compensation for your losses, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you with your compounded drug claim.
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