Six people, including three pharmacists and a doctor, have been charged in a $9.6 million illegal operation to over prescribe prescription medications across Metro Detroit. According to authorities, Dr. Vasan Deshikachar of Boca Raton, Florida, along with two patient recruiters and three pharmacists, were involved in a drug distribution conspiracy in which they issued prescriptions for prescription opioids to patients without any medical needs.
The three pharmacists have been identified as Enitan Sodiya-Ogundipe of Novi, Amir Rafi of Farmington Hills and Abiodun Fabode of Chesterfield Township, while the two recruiters are Niesheia Tibu and Andrei Tibu of Canton. The accused were charged with forming a group in 2015 in order to supply prescription medicines within metropolitan Detroit area and elsewhere.
According to the indictment, the pharmacists dispensed the doctor-prescribed medications to “patients” in exchange for cash payments. The medicines were then sold illegally on the streets in metropolitan Detroit area. According to the officials, Deshikachar would issue the prescriptions for opioids with high street value (mostly oxycodone and oxymorphone) without seeing the patients. The prescriptions were then taken to various pharmacies where the three pharmacists would fill them. The scheme that lasted till March 2018 saw the six accused playing different roles at different times.
As per the complaint, two of the pharmacists — Sodiya-Ogundipe and Rafi — were accused of filling prescriptions for certain doctors and would also note that the physicians had been called to verify the prescriptions, even if it wasn’t the case. When Deshikachar stopped writing prescriptions in January 2018, the Tibus and pharmacist Sodiya-Ogundipe tried to find other doctors for the job.
Through the scheme, the pharmacists dispensed more than 344,737 doses of Schedule II prescription drugs with an estimated street value in excess of $9.6 million. “Diversion of prescription pills to the street market is a direct cause of the current opioid epidemic facing our country. We are focusing on charging doctors, pharmacists and the networks that are contributing to the opioid problem in our district,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
The rising number of opioid prescriptions has contributed to the widespread misuse of these drugs. When consumed without a doctor’s advice, opioid painkillers can lead to serious negative health consequences, and may even cause death. The fraudulent practices by doctors like prescribing opioids for profit have aggravated the ongoing crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales of prescription opioids in the country jumped almost four times between 1999 and 2014. Shockingly, over 1,000 individuals are treated in emergency rooms (ERs) every day for misusing prescription opioids.
According to official figures, nearly 21 to 29 percent patients, who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain, misuse the drugs. Several measures have been taken to curb the rising number of opioid prescriptions. In March 2016, the CDC released its guidelines for prescribing opioid pain medications to patients 18 years and older in primary care settings. Besides, as of March 2016, the CDC issued more than $30 million to 29 states to improve safe prescribing practices like enhancing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs).
The good thing is that opioid addiction is a treatable disease. If you are battling opioid use disorder (OUD), it’s time to get professional treatment. At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we can help you learn more about substance abuse and locate the most suitable residential drug treatment available as per your needs. Whatever your concern, we are here to help. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat live with our representative to find one of the best residential drug treatment centers near you.