Friday, March 13, 2009

Prescription Fraud: Los Angeles Attorney Comments On Anna Nicole Smith Related Charges

Can we speak for most of us when we said we hoped we would never hear the name "Anna Nicole Smith" again? The news media will be thrilled she's back though to help fill the 24-hour cable "news" channels. On March 12, 2009, the California Attorney General's Office filed a criminal complaint against 3 individuals: Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and attorney Howard K. Stern. The charges were in essence that they conspired to "repeatedly and excessively" furnish controlled substances to Anna Nicole Smith.

In an unusual step, California Attorney General Edmund Brown is holding a live press conference on Friday, March 13 a 10:00 a.m. to discuss these charges and the arrests. This investigation has been going on for over 2 years when search warrants were executed on the physicians' practice.

It is alleged that Doctors Eroshevich and Kapoor falsified prescriptions and prescribed unwarranted amounts and combinations of highly addictive medications. Howard K. Stern, Ms. Smith's attorney and confidant, allegedly served as a vital link in obtaining, delivering, and administering these prescription drugs to Anna Nicole Smith. In the Los Angeles Times, one of the physician's attorneys indicated that part of the defense may be that pseudonyms (false names) were used on the prescriptions to protect Ms. Smith's privacy.

Commentary: State and federal governments are aggressively pursuing prescription fraud and abuse. This high profile case will be used to show that physicians will be charged as well as the family members or friends who help supply the prescription drugs. In our practice we have represented physicians charged with crimes relating to prescribing opiates, benzodiazapines, and other controlled and non-controlled substances. These cases tend to get filed when a patient overdoses and dies or commits suicide using the medications.

There is nothing worse for a physician's career than a felony criminal complaint. It has so many collateral consequences on the license that it is quite different than representing the typical criminal case. It is also incredibly stressful and interferes with the physicians' ability to practice while they are defending themselves on the criminal case.

For Los Angeles Times article, see,0,6818108.story

Any questions or comments should be directed to: Tracy Green is a principal at Green and Associates in Los Angeles, California. They focus their practice on the representation of licensed professionals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings, with a specialty in health care providers.


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