Physician Jailed for Prescribing Drugs to Non-Patients

June 18, 2019 | Margarita Christoforou | Fraud and Abuse | Litigation | Pharmaceuticals

A physician who operated weight-loss clinics in Georgia is facing 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Unlawfully Dispense Controlled Substances (Oxycodone), according to a June 13 press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Johnny Di Blasi was arrested at Miami International Airport as he was attempting to flee to Colombia. Dr. Di Biasi wrote prescriptions for narcotics through his clinics to non-patients, many of whom he had never met, and also provided and sold prescriptions for narcotics to non-patients he met in restaurants and bars.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. alone is about $78.5 billion a year. In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are working to aggressively prosecute those who illegally dispense and distribute controlled substances.  Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine emphasized that health care providers will not be immune from prosecution, as “unscrupulous, profiteering medical professionals not only abuse their trust as health care providers, but feed the illicit pipeline of drugs that fuel the opioid crisis in our communities.” The message is clear: Health care providers will be held accountable for their role in prescribing narcotics that are not medically necessary.

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