STAT, July 13, 2017
David Armstrong

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Federal law enforcement agencies announced Thursday what they called “the largest opioid-related fraud takedown in history” with the arrest of 120 people across the country, including doctors allegedly running pill mills and the operators of fraudulent treatment centers.

“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in announcing the arrests. “Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start.”

STAT and the Boston Globe reported earlier this month that patient brokers are fraudulently enrolling people seeking drug addiction treatment in premium private insurance plans in order to send them to faraway centers that pocket thousands of dollars in claims for each patient. To sign up these patients, the brokers often use phony addresses and enlist licensed insurance brokers to enroll them through the online insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

The opioid addiction epidemic has attracted fraudsters who “look at this national scourge, and they see an opportunity to profit from their fellow citizen’s suffering and pain,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. [...]

addiction criminal law pharmaceuticals public health