The government continues its aggressive crackdown on the use of opioids. Although the overall goal of attacking the over prescription and abuse of this highly addictive medication is noble, the reality can mean destructive allegations against physicians throughout the country.
One of the key tools the Justice Department is using to build cases against physicians who prescribe opioid medications is the False Claims Act (FCA).
How is the government using the FCA to come after doctors for prescribing opioids?
A recent case highlights the government’s aggressive approach. In this case, the feds went after a family medicine practitioner for prescribing Subsys, a fentanyl-based spray that is used to treat breakthrough cancer pain. The government claims that the physician violated the False Claims Act (FCA) when he prescribed the medication to two patients between April and December of 2015.
The government claims use of this medication was medically unnecessary or otherwise inappropriate.
A representative of the Department of Justice notes that the organization has a duty to protect the health and welfare of our citizens, but is this case really an example of a threat to citizens? This is one of many questions to answer as the case progresses.
What should physicians do if the DOJ accuses them of an FCA violation?
The case serves as a reminder that physicians who prescribe or prescribed opioid medications at any point in their career could find themselves the subject of an investigation. Depending on what the government finds, they could choose to pursue criminal charges. As a result, those who find that they are the subject of the investigation are wise to take the matter seriously. A fierce defense is necessary to combat these destructive allegations.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication