A doctor in Manhattan pleaded guilty early in December to illegally distributing fentanyl and oxycodone to patients who did not medically require it. As a result, at least one of his patients is dead from an overdose, having been prescribed hundreds of times the amount of oxycodone generally prescribed for medical purposes. The doctor, who worked for a major Manhattan hospital, will be sentenced in March, and faces a maximum of twenty years in prison.
Opioid addiction has become an increasingly common problem throughout the United States, with many who become addicted dying from an overdose. While this spread of addiction can be attributed to several factors, this overprescribing of opioids is considered one of the primary contributors to opioid abuse. The willingness of some doctors to prescribe large quantities of painkillers, even when there is no medical purpose to them, has led to investigations of both prescribing doctors and the companies that produced them, looking into the role they play in the opioid crisis.
In this case, the overprescribing of fentanyl and oxycodone was due in part to payments the doctor received from a pharmaceutical company in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, on which he was convicted separately. In short, the doctor received payments from the pharmaceutical company every time he prescribed a pill from them, meaning he personally profited from every prescription he wrote. In the words of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, he “was more concerned with his own wealth than his patients’ health.”
If you or someone you know has become addicted to prescription painkillers or has suffered an injury or died as a result of an accidental overdose, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in medical malpractice and products liability will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with opioid addiction. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York medical malpractice or products liability lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.