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4 Docs Indicted in $58M Drug, Fraud Case

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   August 05, 2011

The 34-count indictment alleges that Paul Petre, MD, of Rochester Hills; Anmy Tran, DPM, of Macomb; Mark Greenbain, MD, of Farmington Hills; and Mustak Vaid, MD of Brownstown Township, received kickbacks and other inducements as part of a scheme that involved writing patient prescriptions for unnecessary medications, billing insurers for the unnecessary care, and directing their patients to fill the prescriptions at more than 20 pharmacies throughout Michigan owned by Babubhai "Bob" Patel, a Canton pharmacist.

Patel, along with other pharmacists, business associates, and patient recruiters are also listed in the indictment.

The Patel pharmacies billed insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, for dispensing the prescribed medications, despite the fact that the medications were medically unnecessary and/or never provided, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which worked with the FBI, HHS’ Office of Inspector General, and local authorities.

In addition, Patel and his pharmacists are charged with dispensing controlled substances to patient recruiters as a kickback for recruiting patients into the scheme.

Over the life of the alleged fraud activity, which began in January 2006, the Patel pharmacies billed Medicare and Medicaid at least $37.7 million and $20.8 million, respectively, for medications that were either unnecessary or never delivered to the patient, according to authorities.

The pharmacies dispensed at least 250,000 doses of Oxycontin, 4.6 million doses of Vicodin, 1.5 million doses of Xanax, and not less than 6,100 pint bottles of codeine cough syrup, according to the DEA.

The indictment is part of a stepped up efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to uncover fraud in the Medicare program. "The diversion of prescription medications coupled with the fraudulent billing of Medicare creates a toxic scenario that can place a individual's health and safety at risk as well as taxpayers dollars" said Lamont Pugh III, special agent in charge of the Chicago region for HHS’ Office of Inspector General, in a press statement. "The OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold those who seek to harm the Medicare program accountable.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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