MD sentenced to 7 years for writing unlawful prescriptions

A suburban Detroit physician was sentenced to seven years in prison for writing roughly 80,000 unlawful prescriptions without medical justification, which were sold to street dealers, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"More people die from overdoses of prescription drugs in America than from overdoses of all other drugs combined. We hope that prosecuting the doctors who are putting these drugs on the streets will deter others from contributing to this epidemic," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement announcing the sentence.

The physician, 46-year-old Hussein Awada, MD, who practiced in Warren, Mich., conspired to write prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled medications for no medical purpose. The "patients" sold the pills to marketers who re-sold them to street dealers, according to the report. To conceal this fraud, Dr. Awada ordered the patients medically unnecessary X-rays and invasive tests and then billed Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield, according to the DEA.

Dr. Awada admitted to about $2.3 million of fraudulent billing to Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield. In addition to his prison sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution of $2.3 million to BCBS and Medicare, forfeit assets and pay the government $2.3 million, according to the report.


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