Supreme Court sides with physicians in opioid prescribing case

In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of two physicians who were convicted of obstructing the Controlled Substance Act after prescribing hundreds of thousands of opioids, CNN reported June 27. 

In the majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the current "regulatory language" is "ambiguous," and future cases concerning physicians prescribing controlled substances must prove the treatment lacked a "legitimate medical purpose" and the physician knew so. Experts told CNN the ruling will make it more difficult to prosecute physicians in similar cases. 

The two defendants were Xiulu Ruan, MD, and Shakeel Kahn, MD, who ran pain management practices in Alabama and Arizona, respectively, according to CNN

Editor's note: This article was updated June 28 at 9:35 a.m. CT.

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