Criminal defense attorneys for a Tampa medical clinic asked a Hillsborough judge to dismiss the drug case against the clinic’s owners and physicians. They argue that 1st Medical Group was a high-volume pain clinic but that their practice was not illegal.
Law enforcement claims that the clinic prescribed more than 2.4 million addictive pain pills in seven months. The defense argues that, in and of itself is not a crime.
“This is a doctor practicing medicine in a way they don’t like,” a defense attorney told the court.
Prosecutors claim that they have “a mountain of additional information,” including patient records and testimony from two doctors who believe the clinic was handing out too many prescriptions. They believe they will be able to prove that one of the prescribing physicians failed to provide the proper level of patient care and that the clinic was a “pill mill”.
Pill mill cases have proven problematic for Tampa Bay area prosecutors recently. Last year, Hillsborough prosecutors brought drug trafficking charges against Dr. John Mubang, related to his practice at a pain clinic. The case went to trial but ended in a hung jury. Prosectors ultimately offered to let Mubang enter a pretrial intervention program and keep his medical license.
Two owners and a physician from the 1st Medical clinic face 82 counts, including drug trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering against the three. The clinic’s office manager and an employee face 11 and nine conspiracy charges respectively.
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