By Danielle M. Murray, J.D., and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
The Lakeland Ledger reports that Polk County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a dentist and two pharmacists on September 5, 2012, in three unrelated cases dealing with illegally prescribing and dispensing painkillers. The sheriff’s office said the three arrests are part of its efforts to target prescription drug abuse.
To read the entire Lakeland Ledger article, click here.
The Arrest of the Dentist’s Daughter Led to His Investigation and Arrest.
In May 2012, the dentist’s daughter was arrested for allegedly forging more than 500 hydrocodone prescriptions. That arrest led deputies and the Department of Health (DOH) to search the dentist’s clinic. According to the Lakeland Ledger article, out of 43 patient files randomly selected, 31 patients were being prescribed hydrocodone without any documentation.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office stated that the dentist has been charged with knowingly overprescribing controlled narcotics. To see the press release from the sheriff’s office on the dentist’s arrest, click here.
Both Pharmacists Caught by Undercover Detectives.
According to the Lakeland Ledger, the two pharmacists that were arrested allegedly illegally dispensed either oxycodone or hydrocodone to undercover detectives. The pharmacists have been charged with trafficking prescription painkillers.
Click here to see the press release on the pharmacists’ arrests from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Arrests Part of Crack Down on Abuse of Prescription Drugs.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, these arrests are part of an ongoing investigation to target doctors and pharmacists that are improperly prescribing and dispensing prescription medications.
There is an article on our website on legal tips for physicians to manage pain patients. To read that piece, click here.
Criminal Arrest of Over-Prescribers May come From Many Different Agencies.
Physicians and pharmacists who are involved in schemes relating to overprescibing or trafficking in narcotics may be targeted by many different agencies. The local sheriff’s office or police department is just one of them.
We have represented physicians who have been the subjects of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations. The DEA will often use undercover agents and informants to pose as patients, wired for audio recording. The DEA will often work with local law enforcement authorities and the Department of Health (DOH).
Other investigations and arrests may be initiated by a statewide prosecutor’s office, which is under the Attorney General. Still others have been initiated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) where Medicaid funds are used.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Providers in DOH Cases.
The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses, and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH), and other law enforcement agencies.
If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
Malagon, Elvia. “Lakeland Dentist and Two Pharmacists Charged with Prescription Drug Violation.” The Lakeland Ledger. (September 5, 2012). From: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120905/NEWS/120909682?template=printart
Eleazer, Carrie. “PCSO Detectives Arrest Two Pharmacists from Trafficking in Prescription Drugs.” Polk County Sheriff’s Office. (September 5, 2012). From: http://www.polksheriff.org/NewsRoom/Pages/09-05-2012PCSO%20DetectivesArrestTwoPharmacistsForTraffickinginPrescriptionDrugs.aspx
Eleazer, Carrie. “Dr. William Johnson of Sonrise Dental Clinic Arrested.” Polk County Sheriff’s Office. (September 5, 2012). From: http://www.polksheriff.org/NewsRoom/News%20Releases/Pages/09-05-2012.aspx
About the Authors: Danielle M. Murray is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
Tag Words: defense attorney, undercover agents, Department of Health (DOH) investigation, prescription drugs, overprescribing pain medication, Florida prescription drug crackdown, Florida prescription drug abuse, prescription drug trafficking. pharmacist defense, dentist defense, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigation
"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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