Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Doctors beat feds in $500m pill mill case

Six doctors were charged with cheating Medicare and Medicaid out of almost $500m. The scheme was focused within three pain clinics owned and operated by Dr. Rajendra Bothra, 81. The government told jurors that Bothra was a greedy pill pusher who ran his business like a McDonald's drive thru: pull up, get your pain meds, and go home. Bothra's lawyer countered that Bothra was a legitimate pain specialist who helped the elderly manage pain when no one else would. "You don't prosecute McDonalds for selling hamburgers. You don't prosecute KFC for selling chicken. And you shouldn't convict an interventional pain physician for doing his job and issuing prescriptions for people in pain."
Clockwise from left: Dr. Ganiu Edu, Dr. Eric Backos, Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Ronald Kufner
The trial strategy worked. A federal jury acquitted Bothra and three other doctors of all charges. The doctors prescribed 13,217,987 doses of opioids, including OxyContin, Vicodin, hydrocodone and Percocet. The conspiracy cost Medicare more than $182.5m, $272.6m to Medicaid and $9.2m to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.