Pain Clinics More Than Pill Mills According to Fort Lauderdale Criminal Healthcare Fraud Attorney

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According to the US DEA, a multi-law enforcement agency raid of the Pompano Beach Medical Corp landed seven doctors in jail for drug trafficking. But criminal trial law expert and healthcare fraud attorney Robert David Malove says not all pain clinics are criminal enterprises.

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The majority of pain clinics follow all laws and prescribe pain killers only when it makes sense medically.

Six doctors were among those arrested (Case # CFR Sec. 1301.37) in a raid on an area pain clinic Thursday (according to the US DEA on August 16, 2012), as a multi-agency task force including DEA, Broward Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents made the latest move in what has become a major campaign of clinic crackdowns. Pain clinics, which prescribe controlled substances for a variety of medical conditions, have become the front line in the battle against drug trafficking. But Attorney Robert David Malove says the effort is sometimes misplaced.

“The majority of pain clinics follow all laws and prescribe pain killers only when it makes sense medically,” said Malove, a criminal defense attorney whose practice focuses on representing individuals including pain clinic owners, doctors, physician assistants and other clinic support staff. “Most of the people who work at pain clinics are just following their employer’s orders. Sometimes the opportunity for financial gain clouds their judgment. Often times, however, honorable people get caught up in the wide net cast by overzealous law enforcement.”

Malove says that pain clinics play an important role in the healthcare industry by offering a lower-cost alternative to full clinics and hospitals. “The real tragedy is that once a pain clinic is shut down, bona fide pain patients are sent scrambling to get their meds elsewhere. A large number are forced to buy their drugs underground. This means that the effort to shutter pain clinics in the name of law and order creates a whole slew of people who must turn to the black market to get their meds in order to deal with their chronic pain before other measures can be taken.”

According to NBC Miami August 16, 2012, undercover agents sent into the Pompano Beach Medical Corp were given prescriptions with little examination. Over a two-year period agents were able to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances for conditions that law enforcement medical experts claim do not require pain killers.

“This could certainly be a case of a bad apple,” Malove said, “But it’s important to remember that not all pain clinics operate this way. Each clinic is under intense scrutiny, and has to follow a very complex set of government regulations. If we criminalize pain clinics as an industry, we penalize honest doctors and force chronic pain patients to get treated elsewhere, sometimes through criminal activity.”

A total of seven doctors, three clinic owners and one owner’s relative were arrested in the raid and charged with crimes ranging from money laundering to trafficking in a controlled substance. For more information click here.

About Robert David Malove:
Robert David Malove has been recognized as a criminal trial law expert by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Education and Specialization and is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Attorney Mr.Malove concentrates on legal issues relating to the white collar crime defense and healthcare/medicare fraud defense. His Health Care Fraud Blog has received widespread recognition. Mr. Malove is a co-author of the noted treatise, WHITE COLLAR CRIME: HEALTH CARE FRAUD (West)(2011-2012.ed.) Malove can be contacted in Fort Lauderdale at 954-861-0384.

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