Tennessee physician, wife sentenced to 20 years for prescription fraud

A Tennessee physician and his wife were sentenced to 20 years in prison each for conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.

Mark Murphy, MD, and his wife, Jennifer Murphy, both 66, owned and operated North Alabama Pain Services, which closed its Alabama locations in early 2017, according to a March 7 Justice Department news release. Dr. Murphy was the sole physician at the locations. 

Evidence at trial showed some patients went months or years without seeing him during their monthly office visits but continued to receive opioid prescriptions. Over a five-year period, Dr. Murphy wrote prescriptions for more than 10 million opioid pills, including millions of oxycodone tablets. The Murphys also ordered tens of millions of dollars of unnecessary items and services and billed them to taxpayer-funded and private insurance programs, receiving kickbacks for those orders, according to the Justice Department.

In addition to the 20-year sentence, the Murphys have been ordered to pay more than $50 million in restitution.

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