Although potentially lucrative, creating, selling and prescribing unauthorized medications is an illegal activity that will garner attention from federal investigators.
Last week in Miami, a man was arrested for distributing $230 million worth of adulterated drugs. The suspect allegedly obtained HIV medication illegally, created his own labels for the drug and sold the medication to distributors who then distributed the drugs to their clients without their knowledge. According to the DOJ report, the suspect could be sentenced up to 100 years in prison.
Common forms of this type of medical fraud
There are a few common forms that this type of medical fraud takes, including:
- Using name-brand logos: People will often recreate a name-brand FDA-approved drug company’s logo and the authorization in order to pass off counterfeit drugs as authentic and sell these drugs to medical providers.
- Intentionally buying counterfeit drugs: In other cases, it is the doctors who are knowingly buying and prescribing counterfeit drugs to patients. The name-brand drugs are prohibitively expensive, so doctors are trying to keep their businesses afloat by cutting corners and reducing costs.
- People importing non-FDA approved drugs: In many cases, the same drug with the same ingredients can be made available by other countries. They are not FDA-approved, but they contain the same active ingredients and they are much cheaper. It is extremely common for people to smuggle in these prescription drugs and pass them off as the FDA-approved versions, or obtain them from foreign sources and implement them into their practice.
People have died from counterfeit prescription medications. A lot of money changes hands in these deals. Death and significant financial transfers are sure to get the attention of federal criminal investigators.
Fighting back against charges of this kind
Fighting back against medical fraud charges is no simple task. I handled a similar case some time ago, involving a “Dr. X” who was accused of obtain non-FDA-approved medication at a significant discount from foreign countries and using them in the doctor’s oncology practice and then billing the insurance companies as if the drugs were FDA-approved and obtained legally in the United States.
Although the case could have resulted in serious fines and many years in prison – which is exactly what happened to many of Dr. X’s contemporaries – I was able to negotiate a pre-charging deferred prosecution agreement. This means that Dr. X did not have to step into a courtroom, received no conviction or prison sentence and only had to forfeit a small percentage of the overall money earned in the fraudulent medication deals.
The only way to fight back successfully against medication fraud charges is to work with an experienced attorney who knows how to obtain the best result for these types of cases. If you are facing medication fraud charges or other allegations of other health care fraud, contact attorney Darryl Goldberg to set up a consultation.