Feds announce largest-ever crackdown on opioid-related health care fraud

US to crack down on opioid treatment programs: Bloomberg

Sessions told reporters those suspects include 115 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. "Some have made their practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises".

In a related development, the Justice Department on Tuesday said Mallinckrodt Plc, one of the largest manufacturers of the generic opioid painkiller oxycodone, will pay $35 million to resolve allegations it failed to report suspicious drug orders.

Sessions also announced that nearly 300 providers would be suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs. "In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General's staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities", said Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior. Sessions admitted to having the interactions, but said they were held in his capacity as a USA senator, a position he occupied for 20 years before becoming attorney general.

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Federal agents have arrested more than 400 people, including 56 doctors, accused of healthcare fraud in a national dragnet. The government bears some responsibility for the opioid crisis, Price also said, because Washington's pain guidelines 20 years ago incentivized physicians to overprescribe opioids.

"As you all know, we have a multi-front battle in front of us right now: an increase in violent crime, vicious gangs, an opioid epidemic, threats from terrorism and human traffickers", Sessions said in a speech in Las Vegas. He presented a synthesized three-prong approach: prevention, cutting distribution and providing treatment options.

Last year, an estimated 59,000 people in the US died from drug overdoses, many of them linked to opioid abuse, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Both the DEA and HHS played vital roles in the process, lending resources and personnel for the investigation. Sessions said federal investigators "believe there are a lot more cases that need to be brought" and that the medical community needs to continue efforts to reduce the amount of opioid prescribing in the country.

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