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What to Do If Your Practice Is Under Investigation by the DEA

Posted on in Medical License Defense

IL license defense lawyerHave you recently learned that your medical practice or pharmacy is being audited or investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)? You might have discovered this information by chance or have been informed directly by a DEA agent. Either way, a DEA investigation can be frightening, especially if your livelihood depends on keeping your DEA registration and your professional license. The good news is that our firm is equipped to help healthcare professionals of all types in all types of DEA-related matters.

DEA Tasked With Helping to Manage the Opioid Crisis

Over the last few years, the misuse and abuse of opioid drugs have become major problems throughout the country. In fact, the situation is serious enough that the acting U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in 2017, and health officials began using the word “epidemic” to describe the widespread nature of the crisis. At the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 91 per day were dying from opioid overdoses.

As part of the effort to address the crisis, President Trump has utilized federal law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, to play an important role. When it comes to medical practices and pharmacies, the DEA is primarily responsible for ensuring that doctors and pharmacists are prescribing and dispensing controlled substances in accordance with the law and proper clinical guidelines. In most cases, this means investigators are looking for possibly excessive combinations of drugs listed on Schedules II and III by the Controlled Substances Act. If the DEA launches a full-scale investigation, it generally means that there is suspicion of systematic and severe violations.

Three Important Don’ts

There is a dramatic difference between being the subject of a DEA investigation and being guilty. If your practice or pharmacy is the subject of such an investigation, there is not a whole lot you can do except to cooperate. There are, however, some things that you should not do, including:

  • Don’t pretend that it is no big deal. If there are indications of problems big enough to get the DEA involved, you should be taking a careful look at your policies, procedures, and patient practices. Doing so on your own can help demonstrate that you are acting in good faith to remain compliant with DEA standards.
  • Don’t talk to others about the investigation. It is human nature to talk about our problems with others, either to get their input or to express frustration. During a DEA investigation, this is not advisable. Investigators are likely to speak with many of those who are close to you, and their testimony could be subpoenaed. It is also not safe to presume that those you would talk to are actually on your side. Instead, limit your communications regarding the matter to your attorney.
  • Don’t wait to get help. Doing nothing is the biggest mistake you can make when the DEA is investigating your practices and procedures. Your first step should be to contact an attorney with experience in managing DEA matters. The longer you wait, the tougher it might be for you to get the outcome you want.

Contact an Illinois DEA Enforcement Attorney

For more information about protecting yourself and your practice during a DEA investigation, contact an experienced Cook County DEA audit and investigations lawyer. Call 630-310-1267 for a free consultation at The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC. We will do everything we can to help you protect your license, your DEA registration, and your livelihood.

 

Sources:

https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

https://www.dea.gov/controlled-substances-act

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