Congress Defers to Pharma, and Justice Targets Providers

If you've been in healthcare or worked around the opioid crisis for a length of time, you've probably scratched your head at why doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are targeted for prosecution by law enforcement, while the pharmaceutical industry keeps making billions of dollars from opioid sales, serves fresh cookies at trade shows and hawks the idea that the prescription drug epidemic is everyone else's fault.  We've certainly wondered.  

Well, a highly illuminating and very troubling article in the Washington Post helps explain why this is:  Pharma aggressively lobbied Congress to water down the DEA's ability to stop "suspicious shipments" of opioids from pharmaceutical manufacturers down the supply chain.  Perhaps worst of all, the congressman who carried the bill (Tom Marino, R-Pa.) serves a district ravaged by opioid addiction, overdose and death.  There's a word for what Congressman Marino did to his own people here.

The Post's article is worth reading in its entirety and can be found at

Plainly, to a great extent Pharma has legislated its way out of various types of liability for the crisis it helped create and from which it continues to profit extravagantly.  But the federal government is cracking down on doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, and labs, through the Department of Justice's new Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Units.  These 12 special units, operating nationwide in districts (counties) hard hit by the crisis, are staffed by experienced prosecutors and investigators who are focusing on billing data as a means of initiating criminal investigations and targeting doctors and other healthcare providers.  See our first blog post for more about these units, and we will write in the future about them as well.

So, Pharma gets a walk, but the DOJ needs a target.  Who's the easy choice?  Doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, labs.  

This is why it is so important for healthcare professionals to do for themselves what they advise their patients and customers:  Get a checkup, a preventative look to make sure you are doing things the right way.  We at ScripRight Healthcare Consultants, LLC offer just those services.  Through our comprehensive look at a client's practice, we assess risk and determine compliance with the laws of opioid and other controlled drug prescribing.  Then we build a safety zone for our clients (doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, labs, insurers) within which they can practice sound medicine in a legally safe way. Call or write us.  We're here to help!

Steve Meister and Shuli Suman, Owners and Co-Founders


The ScripRight Blog Starts Now.

Dept of Justice Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit - First Post About This.

Greetings from Steve Meister and Shuli Suman, owners and co-founders of ScripRight Healthcare Consultants, LLC.  In this post and several more to come, we are focusing on a   fundamentally important development out of the US Department of Justice.  The Department earlier this month announced the creation of an Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit.  This is one of the most important things ever to come out of DOJ about the prescription drug crisis.

DOJ will form 12 teams of prosecutors and federal agents (DEA, FBI, Health and Human Services, etc) to work exclusively out of 12 federal court districts around the country, coast to coast.  All regions of the nation will house a prosecutorial team.  These prosecutors and agents will be dedicated to opening investigations, targeting doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and other providers, and prosecuting healthcare professionals for prescribing related crimes.

We at ScripRight have long taught that Medicare/Medicaid and health insurance carriers are using years and years of mountains and mountains of billing data to target doctors, hospitals and others in healthcare for investigation and prosecution, for fraud, inappropriate prescribing and abuse.  Now, it is public and official Department of Justice policy!

The 12 teams of prosecutors and law enforcement agents in the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit will use highly sophisticated data analytics (and they will be hiring outside contractors to help, for lots and lots of federal dollars) to find fraud, waste and abuse in healthcare related to opioid prescribing.  They will be able to look for whatever information they want in the data, and we should expect them to try and be as innovative and creative as they can in finding ways to figure out whether prescriptions are legal or illegal, appropriate or excessive, and whether the government or private insurers are being legitimately or improperly billed for prescription-related medical care.

This is The New Order when it comes to investigating doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and others for possible prescribing-related crimes and violations.  Imagine how much time and effort agents and prosecutors will save by using data to INITIATE investigations, instead of the old way of waiting for a tip – or a 911 call about an overdose – and trying to figure things out from the ground up.

More posts to come from us on this.  We hope you’ll read them and reach out to us with comments or questions!

Steve and Shuli

ScripRight Healthcare Consultants, LLC