Federal Indictments on Five Area Healthcare Providers in Opioid Case

By Kollengode S Venkataraman


Federal prosecutors have indicted five area physicians for illegally prescribing Suboxone, a drug meant for treating opium addicts for mitigating withdrawal-related problems. Buprenorphine, marketed under trade names Suboxone and Subutex, among others, wards off the painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal and lessens cravings. The five physicians worked as contract employees at Redirection Treatment Advocates, LLC, (RTA) a business engaged in rehab work for opium addicts.

The federal indictments allege, “… the defendants, working as contractors at various locations, created and distributed unlawful prescriptions for buprenorphine, known as Subutex and Suboxone, a drug that should be used to treat individuals with opium addiction. The defendants are also charged with conspiracy to unlawfully distribute buprenorphine.” The defendants are charged also for allegedly causing fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare or Medicaid for payments to cover the costs of the unlawfully prescribed buprenorphine.”

Details of the federal indictments are here: www.justice.gov/opa/pr/five-pennsylvania-physicians-charged-unlawfully-distributing-buprenorphine-and-defrauding. The healthcare providers indicted in federal courts in Pittsburgh and West Virginia are Krishan Aggarwal, 73, and Madhu Aggarwal, 69, both from Moon Twp; Cherian John, 65, of Coraopolis; Parth Barill, 69, of Pittsburgh; and Michael Bummer, 38, of Sewickley. An indictment is only an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Krishan Aggarwal, Madhu Aggarwal (OB-GYN) and Parth Barill, a gastroenterologist, earned their medical degrees from Rajasthan, India. Cherian John, earned his medical degree from Mumbai.
In a statement released, the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “Today we are facing the worst drug crisis in American history, with one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes.”
While announcing the indictment, US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania Scott Brady said, “Expanding the legitimate use of medication to treat addiction is a critical part of this administration’s multi-faceted approach to combat the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. Yet another vital component is the prosecution of unscrupulous practitioners who abuse their privilege to practice medicine and dispense prescriptions unlawfully. These indictments demonstrate that we remain vigilant in our pursuit of physicians who ignore their oath to do no harm.”      ♣



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