10 Recent Cases of Illegal Pain Medication Distribution and Use

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Thursday, 13 October 2011 15:56
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Here are 10 cases of alleged illegal pain medication use and distribution in the news over the past two months.
Former office manager of a Columbus, Ohio, pain clinic Charlene Breedlove-Jones recently received a 10 year, 10 month sentence in federal prison for illegally distributing prescriptions to people from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. She pled guilty to the charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, healthcare fraud and identify theft. The clinic's owner Dannette Hawthorne also pled guilty to similar charges and will face sentencing next month.

John A. Gianoli III, MD, a Largo, Fla.-based internist focusing on pain management, has been indicted on federal charges of illegally prescribing Oxycodone. The U.S. Attorney's Office has accused him of writing illegal prescriptions five times, but does not mention the amount prescribed.

Former high school wrestler and ringleader of a network illegally distributing Oxycodone pills and other painkillers in Delaware, Michael Griffith, has been sentence to four and a half years in prison. Under his leadership, the network distributed tens of thousands of pain pills through a Florida pharmacy connection.

Minneapolis-based Hennepin County Medical Center nurse Bobbie Lee Beck has been charged with stealing Oxycodone from at least three patients at the hospital for personal use.

New York physician Pravin V. Mehta, MD, has been charged with illegally dispensing controlled drugs, primarily pain medications such as Oxycodone and hydrocodone. He allegedly signed blank prescription forms and directed his staff to fill them out in his absence.

In a Maine federal court, Florida couple Raymond Romero and Vashti Ramcharitar received four years and three months in prison for admitting they were a part of a conspiracy to mail prescription painkillers to post office boxes in Searsport, Maine. The couple mailed 50-100 tablets of prescription painkillers to Searsport every two to three weeks.

Sarasota, Fla.-based Suncoast Pain Management nurse Lori Kough has been charged with 34 counts of prescription drug fraud and one count of Oxycodone trafficking. She allegedly forged prescriptions and verified to the pharmacy that a physician had written them. She obtained approximately 7,900 pills through this method and was paid $300 per prescription.

Three federal Transportation Security Administration officers have been charged with accepting bribes to help smuggle Oxycodone through airports in Florida and New York. The officials were allegedly bribed with cash and gift cards to allow thousands of Oxycodone pills through airport security in flights between the two cities. In total, 20 people were arrested connected to the case.

Las Vegas family physician Henri Wetselaar, MD, his assistant David Litwin and pharmacist Jason C. Smith have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to illegally distribute Oxycodone. The indictment charges that Dr. Wetselaar and Mr. Litwin wrote illegal prescriptions for drugs to patients who they knew didn't medically need them. The patients were then directed to Mr. Smith's pharmacy.

Eight people were recently accused of running a fraudulent diagnostic testing scheme out of World Health Care in Redford, Mich., and Wyoming Medical Centers in East Lansing, Mich., which generated $2 million. Medicare beneficiaries were allegedly funneled to Russell Crispell, DO, employed by World Health Care, before undergoing medically unnecessary tests in order to receive an Oxycontin prescription, which was sold for further distribution.

Related Articles on Pain Management:

HMO Targets Overprescription of Opioids

New California Law Makes Pain Management Practice Easier

Dr. Jay Joshi: Lower Healthcare Spending on Back Pain by Using MRI Appropriately

Last modified on Monday, 17 October 2011 13:43
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