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DEA Investigations Against Doctors and Pharmacies

Trusted Federal DEA Defense Attorneys for Healthcare Providers

As the United States faces a surging drug addiction problem, national news outlets have turned their attention to the pressing issue of prescription pill abuse in recent years.

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Accordingly, there is now a great deal of political pressure on both policymakers and law enforcement agencies to take tough action against rampant prescription fraud and so-called “pill mills.” That pressure is evident across numerous federal agencies, and particularly at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

This creates a startling reality in which — contrary to the popular perception of a DEA that targets hardened thugs and drug smugglers on the street — these federal agents are now targeting highly respected physicians, medical practitioners, and clinics as part of major federal investigations.

While no one condones prescription fraud, and while we certainly recognize the serious problems associated with drug fraud and abuse in this country, it is also a fact that many of these investigations are excessive. The DEA can be overly aggressive in the pursuit of what they perceive to be “justice” — and many investigations are initiated on the basis of simple oversights or misunderstandings that do not constitute fraud.

Unfortunately, the DEA is a federal law enforcement agency with tremendous legal authority. In their zealousness, DEA agents can sometimes entangle innocent healthcare providers or business managers who do not have substantial expertise in these complex legal matters. Before they know what hit them, these parties suddenly find themselves with their whole careers on the line.

The stakes are high and often unfair. It is important for healthcare providers to realize that DEA agents do not represent your best interests, and their legal advice is not offered to help you.

If you find yourself under a DEA investigation, inspection, or unexpected audit, you must proceed cautiously, being very careful about what you do and say.

When put under a federal microscope, even innocent statements or harmless errors can be made to look suspicious or misleading, and the government can use anything you say or do against you. Indeed, that is exactly what the government will try to do in many cases.

The best response to any DEA investigation against doctors or pharmacies is for those targeted to hire an experienced and aggressive team of attorneys right away.

Oberheiden, P.C. is a federal defense law firm including former federal prosecutors. Today, our lawyers have “changed sides” so to speak. They now use their intimate knowledge of how federal prosecutors think, to represent individuals and businesses who have the weight of the government turned against them.

If you are currently facing the prospect of an imminent or ongoing DEA investigation against your medical practice or pharmacy — or even if you believe you might be under suspicion or could face an investigation in the near future — it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

These investigations can be triggered by something as small as a minor record keeping discrepancy or a misguided complaint by a patient. But once the investigation process begins, the federal government has a way of making mountains out of molehills, even if you haven’t violated the law.

Don’t risk your business, your reputation, or your career. Let us fight to protect all those things. Contact the DEA investigation defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. today.

Contact Oberheiden, P.C. online today.

The Difference Between DEA Investigations and Other Federal Searches

Most searches by the federal government require a search warrant from the court. This means the federal agency must be able to show probable cause for believing a crime has been committed, and that the search may produce evidence of the crime.

DEA inspections are different. If the DEA is searching for evidence of a Controlled Substances Act (CSA) violation and is not acting in concert with other federal law enforcement agencies as part of a larger criminal proceeding, then it may conduct an inspection without a probable cause warrant.

Instead, the DEA can move forward with:

  • Your informed written consent, or
  • An administrative warrant (which requires a court’s approval but does not require probable cause or consent — in other words, it’s fairly easy for the DEA to get)

As a result, DEA inspections often happen suddenly and with very little advance warning. These inspections can then become the first step in a larger DEA investigation, which might ultimately result in:

  • Loss of your DEA Certificate of Registration
  • Suspension of revocation of your professional licenses
  • Inability to reapply for DEA Registration in the future
  • Criminal prosecution and conviction of a federal crime

Because the DEA can proceed against you in this context with lighter legal restrictions than many other federal law enforcement agencies, and because the consequences can still be just as severe, it is incredibly important that you take any investigation extremely seriously. Take measures to protect your legal interests sooner than later. The best course of action is to talk with an experienced DEA defense attorney right away.

Healthcare Providers Are Sometimes the Victims

Lynette Byrd

Attorney Lynette S. Byrd
Healthcare Team Lead
Former Federal Prosecutor

Most doctors and healthcare professionals are good people and solid citizens. They reached a high station in life through hard work, dedication, and by doing things the right way. There is something especially unjust when these people fall into the crosshairs of a federal DEA investigation when they have done nothing wrong.

Sometimes, the activity that puts you or your practice on the DEA’s radar might not have anything to do with you at all. For instance, some drug scammers have been known to hire patients who are good candidates for prescription pain medications, drive those patients to a chosen doctor’s office or pharmacy, and then resell those patients’ medications to third parties. The DEA might see this as a red flag for your office, even if you and your staff are entirely unaware of the criminal conduct.

Some of the DEA’s other “red flags” can produce unfair results too — having a small support staff, operating outside of usual business hours, or having a large number of out-of-state patients, for instance. But none of these things are illegal in themselves. There are often perfectly legitimate reasons for them, relating to geography or business strategy. Nevertheless, once the DEA is involved, the situation can quickly become a legal quagmire.

Our Track Record in DEA Investigations Against Doctors and Pharmacies

  • Representation of Doctor in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Doctor in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.

Under a DEA Investigation? Schedule a Free Consultation with Oberheiden, P.C.’s Trusted Lawyers Today

If you or your practice is currently under DEA investigation, we urge you to contact Oberheiden, P.C. for a free and confidential consultation right away.

Our DEA defense lawyers are available seven days a week, even on weekends, to talk about your case and how we might help. Our attorneys’ federal law defense services are available across the nation. Oberheiden, P.C. represents practices and practitioners facing DEA hearings or denials across the country.

This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden P.C. is a Texas PC with headquarters in Dallas. The attorney on record limits his practice to federal law.

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