The Maryland Attorney General announced on August 10, 2017 that two Maryland physicians and nine co-conspirators have been indicted for alleged unlawful distribution of controlled dangerous substances and running pill mills in Maryland. One of the Maryland physicians has been indicted on 21 counts of drug distribution and improper dispensing charges, and the other Maryland physician has been indicted on 289 counts of conspiracy to commit drug distribution, Medicaid fraud, and other charges.
A “pill mill” is a physician’s office, clinic, or health care facility that routinely engages in the practice of prescribing and dispensing controlled dangerous substances outside the scope of professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose.
One Of The Indicted Maryland Physicians
One of the indicted Maryland physicians, along with nine co-defendants, allegedly operated two clinics that functioned as pill mills. The indictment charges that from June 2015 through April 2017, the physician along with some of his co-conspirators owned and/or operated a “wellness center” where they would see patients, many of whom paid up to $500 in cash for each visit, and the owner of the wellness center paid the medical providers in cash.
The indictments further allege that beginning in January 2013, the physician along with some of his co-conspirators operated a pain management clinic located directly across the street from an all-girls high school in Baltimore City. Many of the patients allegedly paid cash for their visits at the pain management clinic.
The indictments allege that the Maryland physician along with some of his co-conspirators routinely dispensed dangerous controlled substances, including opioids, such as oxycodone, and benzodiazepines, such as lprazolam, without a medical purpose. Medicaid pharmacy claims data showed that approximately 1,083 Medicaid beneficiaries were prescribed medication that listed the Maryland physician as the prescriber, and he was listed as the prescriber for 737 beneficiaries even though no corresponding medical visits were billed by either the physician or the pain management clinic. During that same time period, the indictments allege that 403 beneficiaries were prescribed 283,666 doses of oxycodone with the Maryland physician listed as the prescriber, and 336 beneficiaries received prescriptions for both
opiates and benzodiazepines from the Maryland physician.
The indictments allege that the Maryland physician and his co-conspirators submitted fraudulent Medicaid claims, and further allege that the physician is responsible for the death of two beneficiaries as a result of prescribed medications for which he allegedly submitted fraudulent Medicaid claims. Some of the physician’s patients traveled over 25 miles to see the prescriber, including one who drove 245 miles from Ohio, another patient who drove 122 miles from western Maryland, patients who drove 86 miles from Salisbury, Maryland, and another who drove 50 miles from Virginia: 28 out of the 39 patients who drove over 25 miles to see the Maryland physician received fulfilled claims for oxycodone, and 7 of the 39 patients who drove more than 25 miles received a drug combination of an opioid and a benzodiazepine.
The Maryland physician is charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Dangerous Substance, Count 1; Distribution of Controlled Dangerous Substance, Counts 2 – 93; Distribution of Controlled Dangerous Substance Near School, Counts 94 – 185; Unlawful Prescription of Controlled Dangerous Substance by Provider, Counts 186 – 277; Medicaid Fraud Involving Death of Beneficiary, Counts 278 and 279; Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud, Count 280; Medicaid Fraud, Count 281; Conspiracy to Commit Theft Scheme, Count 282; Theft Scheme, Count 283; Conspiracy to Keep Common Nuisance, Counts 284 and 285; and Failure to File Income Taxes, Counts 286 – 289.
The Other Indicted Maryland Physician
The indictments allege that the other Maryland physician unlawfully distributed, dispensed, and prescribed controlled dangerous substances, including oxycodone, oxymorphone, fentanyl, and Xanax, from December 2015 to March 2016, including, at times, selling prescriptions for these narcotics from his vehicle.
The Maryland physician is charged with Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, 10 Counts; Keeping Common Nuisance, 1 Count; and Unlawful Prescription of a Controlled Dangerous Substance by Provider, 10 Counts.
Maryland’s Opioid Epidemic
Eighty-nine percent of all intoxication deaths that occurred in Maryland in 2016 were opioid-related, which include deaths related to heroin, prescription opioids, and non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. The number of opioid-related deaths in Maryland increased by 70% between 2015 and 2016, and has nearly quadrupled since 2010. Non opioid-related drug deaths have also been increasing in Maryland, but at a slower rate. The number of prescription opioid-related deaths in Maryland has been rising since 2012.
If you were harmed as a result of the misuse or abuse of medications that were prescribed for you in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland or in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you.
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