During early August, 2012, a Miami doctor who was indicted in 2007 for allegedly selling prescription drugs to patients who were never interviewed or examined had his criminal indictment dismissed with prejudice by a federal judge in Iowa, at the request of the federal prosecutors, because of the high-cost of storing the paper documents, the electronic records, and the dozens of computers and servers acquired during the nine year investigation.
The records included 440,000 documents and two terabytes of electronic data, which used up 5% of the DEA’s total electronic storage capacity. The DEA was anxious to recover its physical and electronic storage space that was overburdened by maintaining the voluminous evidence in the doctor’s criminal case.
The doctor worked for a Florida-based Internet pharmacy company that operated from 2003 to 2004 during which time the doctor (and other doctors) allegedly authorized thousands of prescriptions for pain pills, diet pills, and other prescription drugs without examining the patients or verifying their identities. Three of the company’s officials received prison sentences and eight of its doctors pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances.
The doctor fled to Panama in 2004 shortly after his Florida medical license was suspended following the allegation that he prescribed excessive quantities of controlled substances to Medicaid patients without medical justification that cost Medicaid $6.5 million over a six year period and led to drug addictions and heath hazards.
The federal investigation began in Iowa in September, 2003, when a small Iowa pharmacy that dispensed drugs for two Internet pharmacy companies was raided, resulting in the criminal convictions of 19 doctors and 7 others. The two Internet pharmacies that were closed down (including the one that the Miami doctor had worked for) had illegally sold 30 million prescription pills. The investigation also recovered $7 million from the illegal operations.
The doctor’s location in his native Panama is known to federal prosecutors, and Panama has an extradition treaty with the United States that requires it to return fugitives to the U.S. upon request, but Panama’s constitution forbids the extradition of its citizens and the U.S. has not formally requested the return of the doctor to the United States. Nonetheless, even with the dismissal of the federal criminal indictment against the doctor, if he returns to the United States, he would probably be arrested by the State of Florida on separate Medicaid fraud and narcotics charges.
Source: The Daily Record, August 16, 2012.
Modern-day prescription drugs offer patients life-saving, life-prolonging, and life-improving benefits and opportunities that are miracles of modern-living. However, the same drugs that are so beneficial to so many people also have a dark and destructive side — their mis-use can destroy the lives of drug-abusers as well as their families.
If you may be the victim of unintended or unexpected consequences from using prescription medications, you should seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney to determine if you have the basis for bringing a claim for your injuries and losses.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible drug claim for you and represent you with your claim, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.