The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Chicago Division, along with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois recently announced that two Illinois doctors were indicted on federal criminal charges for allegedly prescribing opioids to patients who did not have a legitimate medical reason for the drugs.
According to the information released by the DEA, one of the physicians charged managed a medical practice in Melrose Park and the second physician was employed there. The indictments allege that between 2015 and 2020, the doctors dispensed fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other controlled substances to patients who came to the practice but that no physical exams or diagnostic tests were performed on these patients in order to confirm what medical needs the patients had for these drugs.
The doctors are also accused of causing pharmacies to submit many claims to Medicare and Medicaid for prescriptions that were allegedly improperly prescribed.
The doctors have been charged with conspiracy to dispense controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice without a legitimate medical purpose. In addition, the doctors also face charges of unlawful dispensing of controlled substances and health care fraud.
Pill Mill Accusations
When a medical practice is accused of distributing opioids or other pain medications to patients who do not have a legitimate medical reason for the pills, law enforcement often refers to the medical practice as a “pill mill.” There are some signs that law enforcement will look for if they suspect a medical practice of illegally dispensing pain killers. The problem is that these signs may actually be legal and the doctor is doing nothing wrong.
For example, the tactics and actions that DEA agents use have caused many doctors to stop prescribing narcotic pain medication to patients because of the real concern their practice could be unjustly targeted in an investigation. This often leaves patients suffering with legitimate chronic pain to have to travel in order to find a pain clinic willing to provide them with the relief they need. But pain clinics that treat patients who do not live close by is one of the red flags that the DEA considers a sign of a possible pill mill.
When a doctor has been accused by the DEA of running a pill mill, not only do they face criminal charges and potential loss of their medical license, but the government will often pursue asset forfeiture and attempt to seize the doctor’s business assets, financial accounts, real estate, and other property.
Contact an Illinois DEA Defense Attorney
It is critical that any physician who is accused of dispensing narcotics illegally contact a seasoned Illinois DEA defense attorney immediately. It will be imperative for the attorney to file a motion contesting asset seizure attempts by the government. If the assets are seized prior to trial and the doctor is subsequently found not guilty, any assets seized could still be gone for good. The sooner an attorney begins working on a defense against these charges, the better the chances are for a positive outcome.
If you are being investigated by the DEA or have already been charged, call [[title]] at [[phone]] to schedule a free and confidential consultation.