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No Correlation Between Drug War and Use

According to an independent, well-regarded think tank, there is statistically no reason to think that we can reduce drug abuse by locking more people up. The nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts spelled it out in a letter this summer to a federal commission that’s looking at ways to combat the widespread problem of opioid abuse. Its study, which drew on data Read More

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The CURES For What Ails You

Speaking of prescription drugs, almost every state now has a prescription-drug monitoring program (or PDMP). The goal is to curb prescription-drug abuse by discouraging pill-pushing and doctor-shopping. So whether you’re a patient or provider, you should pay attention because law enforcement and licensing boards are watching. In California, for example, the program is called CURES: the Read More

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Feds Arrest Hundreds in Healthcare Raids

Last week, the federal government conducted nationwide raids of healthcare providers and facilities based on $1.3 billion in allegedly false billings. In one day, the feds arrested 412 people in a coordinated takedown that netted 115 doctors, nurses, and other licensed professionals. The government also brought legal action to exclude 295 providers—including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists—from further participating in Read More

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Patient Privacy Gives Way for Good Cause

If you’re a doctor in California, here’s a healthy reminder that the Medical Board can subpoena your patients’ records for good cause, over their objection and yours. In a recent decision, the California Court of Appeal upheld an order that compelled a doctor to produce three of his patients’ records even though all three didn’t want Read More

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Strict Liability for Pharmacists in California

If you’re a supervising pharmacist in California, you should take note of a recent appellate decision that upheld the pharmacy board’s right to revoke your license because of a subordinate’s intentional misconduct, even if you didn’t know about it. The pharmacist in the case, who was the pharmacist-in-charge at a retail pharmacy, nearly lost his license because a technician secretly ordered and stole one million Read More

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U.S. Sentencing Commission Amends Guidelines for White-Collar Fraud Cases

Any day now, the U.S. Sentencing Commission will submit to Congress a set of proposed amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines that it voted to approve three weeks ago. That matters because, in federal court, the guidelines drive most sentences and influence nearly all of them. If Congress doesn’t object to the amendments, they will go effective on November 1. Here’s Read More

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What Is A Kickback, Anyway?

When is it a bribe, when is it business, and when is it speech? We know it’s a bribe if you toss some cash in someone’s lap, but what if you just give them some good business advice? Well, that may have value, too, so it could be a kickback, but then what if you charge them for it? Okay, well, that Read More

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Johnson & Johnson to Pay $2.2 Billion to Settle Charges Regarding Children and the Elderly

Last week, healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 billion and plead guilty to a misdemeanor in order to settle a long-running civil and criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into its off-label marketing of certain drugs, including the antipsychotic Risperdal. Under federal law, drug makers may not market drugs for a use that has not been approved Read More

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