When a Doctor is Suspected of Federal Prescription Drug Fraud

 Posted on May 23, 2022 in Federal Crimes

b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-defense-lawyer.jpgOpioid addiction is a national epidemic. It spans the entire country, and Chicago is no exception. Individuals who are caught trafficking illegally obtained prescription drugs may be subject to state or federal prosecution. Doctors who distribute narcotics outside the scope of their normal, reasonable medical practice may be subject to prosecution for federal drug crimes as well. It is a federal felony to knowingly and intentionally hand out opioid prescriptions when it is not for a legitimate medical purpose. While a large number of known “pill mills” were taken down years ago when the opioid epidemic first became a known problem, there are still doctors who attempt to discreetly continue prescribing opioids to individuals they know are likely to resell or abuse them. 

That said, it can be difficult for federal investigators to fully determine whether or not a prescription for narcotics is based on a patient’s genuine need for relief from legitimate pain. If you are a doctor and believe that you may be under scrutiny for prescribing narcotics, it is important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. 

What “Red Flags” Can Make the DEA Suspicious of a Doctor Who Prescribes Narcotics?

When a doctor routinely prescribes opioid pain medicine, there are certain signs that may invite suspicion from the DEA. However, it can be difficult for someone who is not a doctor to determine whether a certain patient or group of patients legitimately needs these medications. The presence of one or more signs could lead to an investigation, during which you will absolutely want to be represented by an attorney. Signs that may make the DEA suspect prescription drug fraud include: 

  • Cash only - It is perfectly legal for a doctor to choose not to work with any insurance companies and to accept cash only. However, this practice is common among doctors who are knowingly overprescribing and trying to avoid dealing with insurance companies that could become suspicious of the quantity of narcotics being prescribed to their clients. 

  • No alternatives - A legitimate pain doctor will typically seek solutions for managing a patient’s chronic pain other than simply giving them narcotics. Efforts to treat a patient’s pain without opioids may involve anything from surgery to a nerve block to physical therapy. When a doctor does not make an effort to try these alternatives, the DEA may suspect that the doctor is only interested in making a profit from selling narcotic prescriptions. 

  • Out-of-town patients - It is fairly normal for patients to travel out of state for medical care when they are dealing with a complex condition and need a specialized practice. However, if a doctor who mostly treats pain patients sees a large number of patients from out of town or out of state, the DEA may suspect that the doctor is running a pill mill. 

If you believe that you may be suspected of fraudulently prescribing narcotics, the time to get a lawyer is right now. 

Call an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

When your freedom and your medical license are on the line, you can trust Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney to provide you with the best possible defense. Our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyers will fight for you. Call 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. 


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