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A look at prescription drug fraud

The news has been filled for the past few years about healthcare reform and many heated arguments for and against it. We are not taking a position on any side of that law, but rather intend to focus in this post on an aspect of healthcare less frequently dealt with by the media: prescription drug fraud.

Let's be clear from the start that when a person has been accused of prescription drug fraud, it is by no means certain that they are guilty of the crime. Our system has a built-in presumption of innocence that puts the burden of proof squarely on the government. That means that in the United States, we believe a person is innocent unless or until proven guilty.

Now let's take a look at this particular form of healthcare fraud that people have been accused of in the Orlando area. The accusations can involve the following:

  • Prescription medications: people obtain prescription pills in order to sell them on the street
  • Doctor shopping: involving a search for multiple physicians to write prescriptions for narcotics (typically painkillers)
  • Health care providers: they sometimes overcharge Medicare or Medicaid for prescriptions they have written; they can also knowingly write prescriptions for people who will then sell the medications on the street
  • Falsifying prescriptions: altering a prescription or creating a faked prescription in order to obtain sellable drugs, or obtain medications to which the person is addicted

Anyone who believes they might face indictment on any of these charges or related accusations should immediately contact an attorney with both trial and negotiation experience in this area of criminal defense.

Source: Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, "Healthcare fraud: an overview," accessed Sept. 3, 2014

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