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Clearwater pharmaceutical company under fire for bribing doctors

Medicaid fraud is a significant charge, but imagine if it was combined with charges for drug distribution. That’s what happened in a major drug bust that reached the news on April 18.

According to the story, several defendants are now fighting against charges including fraud and the unlawful distribution of controlled substances (including prescription opioids).

One of the companies accused in this case is Assured Rx, a Clearwater-based pharmaceutical company. The company is accused of paying bribes to doctors as far north as Kentucky to get them to refer patients to the pharmaceutical company’s products.

One provider in Louisville, Kentucky, received over $225,700 in kickbacks over five months in 2015, according to the indictment. Another $282,000 was accepted to a separate account by the same individual following that. Based on this and other information, Bluegrass Pain Consultants was raided by federal agents in 2018.

The people involved in this case face more than simple drug charges. Fraud and other white collar crime charges may also apply.

These cases aren’t always clear-cut. It can be hard to tell from medical providers’ documents which patients need pain medications and should receive narcotics. There are privacy laws in place, and medical providers do, technically, have the right to prescribe any medication they feel necessary to a patient.

Having a preferred pharmacy likely isn’t a crime, either. The Anti-Kickback Statute makes receiving bribes to refer patients illegal if the money exchanging hands can’t be explained.

In any case, if you face drug charges of any type, a solid defense is your best bet. You don’t want to face a bias or unfair treatment by the prosecution.

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