OxyContin Ring Sells 1 Million Pills on the Street

In Los Angeles, 14 people have been charged with running a scheme to obtain OxyContin pills through insurance fraud and distribute them on the street for millions of dollars in profits. The drug distribution ring included two doctors and the operators of a clinic owned by Lake Medical Group.  Members of the ring are suspected of reselling more than 1 million OxyContin pills on the street.

According to federal officials, the clinic’s doctors wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the powerful painkiller and billed Medicare and Medical.  Most of the prescriptions were written for patients who did not need a painkiller.

Members of the ring are also alleged to have committed identity theft and used stolen Medicare beneficiary information to obtain OxyContin.  Among those charged were Dr. Morris Halfnon, aged 88, Dr. Eleanor Santiago, aged 73, and pharmacist Theodore Yoon.

The …

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Increase in Doctors Facing Criminal Prosecution Related to Drug Abuse

Dr. Conrad Murray is currently facing trial for involuntary manslaughter for administering a powerful anesthetic that led to the death of Michael Jackson.  Murray is part of a growing trend of doctors who are criminally prosecuted for medical malpractice.  According to Reuters news service, fewer than 40 doctors faced criminal charges for malpractice between 1809 and 2000.  Since 2001, there have been at least 37 cases – almost as many as in the previous 200 years.

The majority of the cases since 2001 involved doctors who have overprescribed prescription painkillers and other controlled substances.  Many doctors have been charged under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which allows prosecution of physicians who knowingly prescribe medication outside the usual course of professional practice or for non-medical purposes.
Prior to the case of Dr. Murray, the most famous prosecution of a doctor …

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