Mutual Matters

DOJ Announces Establishment of Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit

Posted by Scott R. Grubman, Esq. on Aug 30, 2017 9:08:47 AM

Scott R. Grubman, Esq.
Gregory A. Tanner, Esq.

Chilivis, Cochran, Larkins & Bever, LLP

In response to the nationwide opioid epidemic, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the creation of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. 

MMIC_Gavel_Legal.jpgThe announcement was made on August 2, 2017 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who explained that for the next three years this new program will fund twelve experienced Assistant United States Attorneys who will focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to prescription opioids.

The DOJ is not the only federal agency that is focusing more resources on aggressively targeting the opioid epidemic. The Food and Drug Administration, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General have also taken steps to more aggressively fight the opioid crisis.

The DOJ’s new program will utilize data to investigate physicians and pharmacies suspected of unlawfully diverting or dispensing opioids for illegal purposes. Under this new program, the DOJ will seek to detect possible kickback arrangements between prescribing providers and pharmacists or pharmaceutical companies, track the rates at which physicians write opioid prescriptions, review opioid prescriptions for medical necessity, and monitor the number of a physician’s patients who die within 60 days of an opioid prescription. Regarding such new resources to collect and analyze opioid data, Sessions commented that the DOJ “will be better positioned to identify, prosecute and convict some of the individuals contributing to these tens of thousands of deaths a year.”

Discover which districts are part of the new format and more buy clicking below.

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