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DEA Investigations and the Unlawful Prescribing, Diversion, or Distribution of Controlled Substances

Posted on in Medical License Defense

Illinois DEA defense lawyerHealthcare providers who work with controlled substances are at an almost constant risk for allegations of drug diversion, unlawful prescribing, or the illegal distribution of a controlled substance. To make matters even worse, these same healthcare professionals often undergo routine audits with the DEA, only to wind up in the middle of an investigation. Thankfully, it is possible to protect your medical license, even if you are in the midst of chaos.

DEA Audits and Inspections

The DEA regularly investigates and audits healthcare providers to ensure they are maintaining compliance with the Controlled Substances Act. This occurs about once every three years but may be more frequent for certain practices. Most often, investigations are done at random. However, specific practices – namely pain management clinics and providers – may be targeted because the agency considers them a “high risk.” A tip or complaint from a pharmacist or patient and discrepancies in prescribing patterns could also lead to an investigation or audit.

Warrants are not typically required for basic or routine audits or investigations, especially when the investigation is being conducted due to concerns over public health or safety. However, the DEA may be required to seek written, informed consent from the registrant before they can begin their investigation. It should be noted that registrants do have the right to refuse the administrative investigation. However, an administrative warrant is usually secured after the refusal. As such, providers should prepare themselves immediately after refusal.

Consequences for Violating the Controlled Substances Act

Most healthcare providers know that unlawful prescribing, diverting, and distribution of controlled substances are considered violations of the Controlled Substances Act. Less known is just how easy it is to be flagged for a potential violation. Charting issues, theft of prescription pads, prescription errors, failure to conduct appropriate testing, and even flighty employees are all risk factors that may ultimately lead to consequences. These may include:

  • Suspension or revocation of a provider’s license,
  • Revocation or suspension of DEA registration,
  • Denial of a DEA registration renewal,
  • Criminal charges, and
  • Fines and administrative penalties.

Protecting Your License During a DEA Audit or Investigation

If you are the subject of a DEA audit or investigation, immediately contact the Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC for assistance. Backed by over 16 years of experience, our Illinois DEA defense lawyer can protect your rights and your license. We will be by your side, every step of the way, ensuring you understand your options. Schedule your personalized consultation by calling our offices at 630-310-1267 today.

Sources:

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/841.htm

https://www.dea.gov/ops/diversion.shtml

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Illinois Pharmacists Association American Pharmacists Association 10.0Joseph John Bogdan
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