Compounded Drugs Can be Rx for Greed
The Department of Justice nabbed a doctor who was licensed in both Texas and Oklahoma for writing drug prescriptions in exchange for kickbacks. The drugs in question were compounded, which are expensive because they are either multiple drugs mixed together, pills made into liquid or drugs made without dyes in them.
In this case, the doctor ordered the drugs after a compounding company solicited him, and paid a hefty bribe, to write prescriptions that would be filled by that company’s pharmacy. Footing the bill for these pricey drugs was Medicare, TRICARE, CHAMPVA and the Federal Employees Compensation Act Program.
The doctor ran pain clinics in both states, which is a good place to hide specialty drugs. He pleaded guilty and could face paying back $1.5 million. However, part of his plea deal is that he serves 36 months of supervised probation, with no jail time.
One hopes that the judge doesn’t accept that plea. Compounded drugs are potentially dangerous, especially when the participants aren’t thinking first of patient safety.
A couple years ago, the major players in another compounding company were caught up in a deadly scheme that caused a nationwide meningitis outbreak, the biggest ever seen by a pharmaceutical drug. They cut corners, shipped in bulk without individual prescriptions, ignored patient safety, misbranded drugs, didn’t await sterility test results, let mold and bacteria into their clean-room facility and created drugs with expired ingredients. Almost 800 patients across the country came down with a fungal infection after getting injections of those drugs. Of those, over 100 patients have died.
They also tried, and failed, to hide their activities. They weren’t too bright, apparently, shipping drugs to patients named Bud Weiser, Fat Albert, Samuel Adams and others.
All the participants received average prison sentences … until a federal appeals court decided that the original judge was wrong. One by one the criminals are being resentenced with extra time added on.
(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.
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