Oklahoma Opioid Crisis: Crimes charged against Doctors & Pharmacists
The Wyatt Law Office represents medical providers charged with state or federal opioid drug crimes. Interestingly, these crimes may be charged in state or federal court. The Attorney General of Oklahoma may pursue these crimes as Medicaid Fraud, while the U.S. Attorney may pursue charges for Medicare Fraud or Healthcare Fraud and even illegal drug distribution (punished like street dealers). The lawyers at the Wyatt Law Office have represented doctors, pharmacists, nurses, EMTs or paramedics, and other healthcare providers in each of those situations. Often the prosecutors are looking for badges of fraud such as:
- Excessive amounts of prescriptions for pain
- Long-term prescriptions of opioids for pain management
- Patients not improving over time but still prescribing opioids
- Prescribing to multiple members of the patient’s family
- The medical provider’s abuse of alcohol or drugs
- Inconsistent drug screens with patients
- Prescriptions for opioids at multiple pharmacies or by multiple doctors
- Failure to monitor the PMP
- Early refills of prescriptions
- Replacing lost prescriptions
- Drug overdoses or patient death
- Inadequate medical records to support pain management with opioids
- Dispensing to family members or close friends of the provider
- “Standing Orders” for opioids
- Pre-signed prescriptions
We also anticipate that with the new “patient treatment agreements” required by the Oklahoma Legislature, investigators will be looking for failure to maintain current records that the patient was advised that the use of opiates or opioids could result in addiction as part of the Oklahoma Opioid Crisis.
These actions typically are investigated by the Office of Inspector General, the Department of Health, the FBI, the DEA and the OBN. If you find yourself or your business under investigation, BEWARE. These agencies are no longer merely referring these matters to licensing boards (the Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, the Board of Osteopathic Examiners, the State Pharmacy Board, the Nursing Board, etc.). Rather, felony criminal charges are routinely being filed in state and federal courts, with prosecutors seeking to incapacitate medical providers by sending them to prison and by seeking termination or revocation of their professional licenses. Do NOT give voluntary statements because you may find yourself charged and convicted with your own statement if you cooperate in the investigation. (Note: the Miranda warnings of “your rights” is NOT required unless you are under arrest. Even if you are only facing a board proceeding, you should consult with criminal defense counsel before defending your actions before your regulatory board.
The Wyatt Law Office has represented healthcare providers charged in federal courts in Muskogee, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa and in state courts across Oklahoma. Because of increased emphasis by the President of the United States and by the opioid litigation, these criminal investigations are becoming commonplace.
Call the Wyatt Law Office at 405.234.5500 to speak with your Oklahoma opioid distribution and healthcare crimes lawyers. Your future is our business.