While trust is important in any relationship, it’s crucial in a doctor-patient relationship. Patients must be able to trust that their physicians have their best interests in mind.
Unfortunately, not all doctors put the safety of their patients first. Some doctors take advantage of vulnerable patients simply to make more money. One such case in the Chicago area involves medical malpractice and medication fraud committed by a doctor, and it was recently reported to be the largest fraud case of its kind in the Chicago area.
Since 1973, the doctor has been practicing psychiatric medicine in the Chicago area. Last month, he was hit with a civil health care fraud lawsuit. Allegations against the doctor include prescribing antipsychotic and other psychiatric medications to patients, most of whom were indigent nursing home residents. As a result, the pharmacies dispensing the medications would then file claims with Medicaid and Medicare Part D. These claims then generated illegal kickbacks.
Included in the lawsuit is the doctor’s frequent prescribing of clozapine. Clozapine is a seldom-used medication that carries serious potential side effects, including a decrease in white blood cells that can lead to fatal complications, seizures, inflammation of the heart muscle and increased risk of death in the elderly. Clozapine is usually used as a “last resort,” especially for the elderly, and is used primarily for treating schizophrenia when other medications are not effective.
Among the illegal kickbacks the doctor allegedly received were a $2,300 boat cruise for him and his family, dining out with dinner tabs of about $1,700, a $50,000 annual consulting fee, $100,000 speaking engagements, tickets to sporting events, golf outings and fishing trips. He received most of these kickbacks from prescribing medications to those who did not necessarily need medication.
Source: SkokiePatch, “Doctor, Teva Pharmaceutical Part of ‘Largest’ Medication Fraud in Chicago,” George Slefo, Nov. 1, 2012
- Our firm represents patients and families who have been harmed by similar incidents of medical malpractice like the incident discussed in today’s blog post. To learn more about protecting malpractice victims’ rights, please visit our Chicago negligent dosing and prescription medication errors lawyers page.