An Ohio Federal Court Issues a Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting a Toledo-based Pharmacy and Its Two Pharmacists from Filling Opioids and Other Controlled Substances

An Ohio Federal Court Issues a Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting a Toledo-based Pharmacy and Its Two Pharmacists from Filling Opioids and Other Controlled Substances

On 15th January 2021, the Department of Justice announced that an Ohio federal court gave a temporary restraining order prohibiting a pharmacy based in Toledo, Ohio, and two of its pharmacists from supplying opioids and other controlled substances.

In a civil suit filed on 6th January 2021, and opened on 14th January 2021, in Ohio’s Northern District, the United States purported that Shaffer Pharmacy, Thomas Tadsen, its pharmacist and owner, and Wilson Bunton, a pharmacist, frequently distributed opioids and other controlled substances in breach of the Controlled Substances Statute. The case purported that over a duration of numerous years, the accused people distributed highly abused and highly addictive prescription opioids while disregarding “red flags”; that is, clear signs of drug diversion and drug-seeking conduct. Jack Zouhary, United States District Judge, approved the government’s appeal for a temporary restraining order, which was filed together with the case.

The Justice Department – Civil Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Jennifer B. Dickey stated that federal law demands pharmacists to ensure that they fill medically legitimate controlled substance prescriptions. Acting Assistant Attorney General Jennifer B. Dickey further added that Justice Department would continue to partner with DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and other law enforcement partners to fight the opioid pandemic by holding liable and bringing to justice pharmacies that abandon their responsibilities.

Ohio’s Northern District Acting United States Attorney Bridget M. Brennan stated that the unlawful dispensing or prescribing of opioids by medical professionals only serves to advance and worsen the opioid crisis in northern Ohio and rise the number of deaths resulting from a drug overdose in the society. Acting United States Attorney Bridget M. Brennan further added that accusations of opioids prescription abuse continue to be the key priority for the attorney’s office, and criminals must expect serious consequences.

Special Agent Keith Martin in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration stated that distributing controlled substances is an honor that needs observing the law. Special Agent Keith Martin further added that the Drug Enforcement Administration is dedicated to ensuring that those who have sworn to abide by the nation’s drug laws live up to that obligation.

The FBI – Cleveland Division Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith stated that they continue to encounter a difficult battle against drug addiction and abuse, and it is absurd that a certified healthcare provider would promote this growing crisis. Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith further stated that limiting the ability of these accused people to continue filling medically unnecessary opioid prescriptions is a momentous step.  Smith assured that the FBI would progress with efforts to find and hold liable any medical specialist that breaches their legal responsibility not to harm when they take part in criminal actions.

The case purported that the accused people never took steps required to settle red flags and ensure the medical necessity of prescriptions before prescribing them. As per the court documents, the prescriptions supplied by the accused people frequently included highly misused opioid painkillers like hydrocodone, buprenorphine, oxymorphone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, frequently in harmful mixture with other prescription medications like benzodiazepines (i.e., sedatives specified for anxiety treatment, like Xanax), and muscle relaxants (e.g., carisoprodol, also known as Soma). The case pursues civil penalties and a permanent ban against the accused people.

The claims entailed in the suit are merely accusations that the U.S. government should prove if the suit proceeds to trial.

The HHS (United States Department of Health and Human Services) – Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the Ohio Attorney General – Healthcare Fraud section, the FBI, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, DEA, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers – Compensation conducted the investigations for this case. Ohio’s Northern District United States Assistant Attorneys Angelita Cruz Bridges and Patricia Fitzgerald and the Justice Department – Consumer Protection Branch Trial Attorneys Maryann McGuire and Scott Dahlquist prosecuted the case.

Violating the Anti-Kickback Act, the False Claim Statute, and the Controlled Substance Act is harshly punished by the law. Also, scheming to commit health care fraud like defrauding taxpayer-funded health care plans, such as Medicaid, TRICARE, or Medicare programs, is a severe crime. Any individual who executes these crimes violates the law and is sternly penalized or fined if found liable for the accusations. When charged with these crimes, you should search for the best legal advice or representation to protect and pursue your rights. Hire our highly qualified team of the finest defense and criminal attorneys if you required highly exceptional legal representation and assistance, which will result in achieving positive results for your issue. Health Care Fraud Group comprises an experienced team of lawyers with tremendous experience in handling Health Care Fraud related issues related to the Federal Health Care System; they are highly knowledgeable about civil and federal matters. The defense attorneys are well recognized across the nation due to their excellent and remarkable work and professionalism when dealing with health care fraud matters and investigations. Our attorneys are well-equipped with past knowledge of each aspect of Health Care fraud defense, medical, and legal issues.

Our offices operate 24/7 since they are always open, and we are well-prepared and ready to start your defense immediately. We give a quick and safe evaluation of your case and work quickly to collect, acquire, and assemble the required and critical particulars concerning your matter in the government’s inquiries. Once hired, we will help you and your team come up with the right and best decision. Our highly skilled team of attorneys will assist and guide you when required in anything you may want to know and further train your team to effectively help in your criminal defense. This because there are multiple crucial mistakes you must evade when facing a health care fraud investigation.

Additionally, we will provide you and your team with detailed legal support and defense in cases and inquiries that are in charge and even those in other firms or institutions that cover the IRS and the FBI, and investigations and matters that are under the jurisdiction of the CMS, DOJ, DHHS, OIG, and DEA. Besides, we will investigate potential health care fraud and help keep both you and your career safe. Our highly qualified attorneys at the HCFG are conversant and clearly understand the need to prove innocence after the accusation of any crime. For any legal representation, advice, or support you may need, contact us at 888-402-4054.

Schedule a Confidential Initial Compliance Assessment with Our Federal Health Care Group