What Physicians and Pharmacies Need to Know About Drug Diversion and Opioid Investigations
Effective License Protection and DEA Criminal Defense
Physicians call attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden to find out if their practice is safe or whether they may be under the government’s radar. The concerns are real in light of the many reports of physicians charged with criminal violations of the Control Substances Act for administering medically unnecessary pain medications.
Indeed, practice of pain management has radically changed since the federal government publicly declared to target pain medicine prescribing physicians and pharmacies in its war against opioids in late 2017. More than 100 physicians have been charged with federal felonies, the DEA and the FBI have raided medical practices, and many pharmacy owners have seen federal agents close their businesses.
Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden has protected countless physicians and pharmacies against DEA audits and investigations involving drug diversion and alleged narcotics prescription fraud. From having saved many medical providers from criminal charges, civil liabilities, and license revocations, Nick offers true advice based on real life experience gained in hundreds of health care fraud cases.
As much as Nick has avoided criminal charges in pending investigations, Nick has advised pain management specialists, family doctors, internal medicine doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, and pharmacies across the country of how not to get on the governments radar in the first place when it comes to controlled substances. If you would like to request a free compliance analysis or a free and confidential consultation about a pending case, please call Nick directly at (214) 692-2171.
The Government Claims that Many Pain Prescriptions Are Medically Unnecessary and Thus Illegal
In essence, the government claims that too many physicians prescribe opioids without a sound medical foundation and thus operate a “pill mill.” From indicted cases and from being on the forefront of having avoided jail time and criminal charges for medical providers and pharmacies, attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden knows that the government’s case comes down to FIVE key observations.
- The medications are medically unnecessary.
- The medications come in excessive amounts.
- Many “cash” patients sell prescriptions and cause diversion.
- Physicians neglect patient examinations and referrals to counselors.
- The pain practice falls outside the accepted standards of medicine.
The determinations that prescriptions fall outside the scope of accepted medicine and are medically unnecessary are typically made by government medical experts, who view subpoenaed or seized patient charts on behalf of the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Examples of excessive amounts include:
- Percocet 10/325 mg, 120 pills
- Oxycodone 15 mg, 60 pills
- OxyContin 15 mg, 60 pills
- Oxycodone 30 mg, 60 pills
- Zanaflex 4mg, 90 pills
Unfortunately, it is not enough to just change and update prescription policies. The government’s look back period in DEA pain medicine investigations is typically five years and involve patient files and prescription policies from during this time. If you have regularly prescribed Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III controlled substances, you should request a free and confidential practice analysis by renowned attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden and his team.
These Are the Penalties for Opioid Fraud and Drug Diversion
Drug diversion and medically unnecessary opioid prescriptions are regulated by the federal Controlled Substances Act at 21 U.S.C. 841 and the general federal health care fraud statute at 18 U.S.C. 1347. According to 21 U.S.C. 841, anyone unlawfully distributing or dispensing a controlled substance (e.g. here Schedule III prescription drugs) can be sentenced as follows:
Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 for each count of unlawfully dispensing Schedule III controlled substances and a maximum sentence of 10 years incarceration and a fine of $ 1 million for each count charging a conspiracy to unlawfully dispensing a Schedule III controlled substance under 21 U.S.C. 846; and a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $ 250,000 for each count alleging health care fraud under 18 U.S.C. 1347.
Don’t let happen to you what has happened to so many other physicians, who waited and hesitated to engage experienced counsel while they had a chance and opportunity to turn their case around without being charged or disbarred. Call or contact Nick today. It’s free. It’s confidential. It’s personal. No secretaries. No paralegals. No junior lawyers. Call (214) 692-2171.
Nick Has Helped Many Physicians, Nurses, and Pharmacies Protect Their License: Let Him Do the Same For You.
- Patient Complaint. Representation of a pain management physician against a patient complaint for the overdosed death of a relative resulting in a medical board investigation. Nick conducted an internal investigation and random chart review of more than 200 files with a former DEA agent serving as a consultant in an effort to examine the physician’s office policies and opioid protocols. Where needed, Nick added and boosted current policies and compliance materials relating to narcotics prescription policies, updated the compliance training materials, and introduced a stronger emphasis on inter-disciplinary procedures such as physical therapy, toxicology testing, radiology services, and psychological counseling. The documentation and the compliance efforts convinced the board that the practice did not pose a threat to the public and did not cause or contribute to the death of the patient leading to the Board formally closing the case.
- Drug Diversion. Representation of various pharmacies under investigation by DEA drug diversion investigators. All representations had in common that the DEA showed up with administrative search warrants and began a review of approximately 100 charts per pharmacy location. Because some charts were missing copies of signed prescriptions and were lacking other formalities, the investigators went on for a full pill count and review of the compounding process at some of these pharmacies. To stop this massive business interruption, Nick, who attended each warrant, reached out to DEA supervisors asking for departure of the agents and an opportunity to self-cure potential shortcomings. Although the DEA investigators threatened, if not announced, a revocation of the pharmacies’ DEA privileges, Nick advised against a requested voluntary surrender of the respective DEA licenses, helped the pharmacies to conduct an internal audit, and ultimately presented an error rate of less than 2% to the DEA.
- DEA Criminal Cases. In terms of criminal cases, Nick has avoided criminal charges against pharmacies and physicians and some of the toughest of all cases; including those cases, in which the DEA had evidence of drug related overdoses of patients in the care of Nick’s clients. If you find yourself under DEA investigation, you should visit with Nick to get his opinion and to see what recourse is best to defeat the case and to avoid criminal prosecution.
Call (214) 692-2171 for a Free & Confidential DEA Defense Consultation
Dr. Nick Oberheiden only takes federal cases and he has represented pharmacies and providers throughout the nation, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Washington D.C, Virginia, West Virginia, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.