Opioid illustration The casehighlights a growing focus on the role of prescribers andpharmacists in the nation's opioid epidemic. (Image:Shutterstock)

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A group of doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and aclinic owner have all been charged with conspiracy to illegallydistribute opioids.

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According to the indictment, the owner of New Vision Rehab andPreferred Rehab clinics in the Detroit area gave kickbacks todoctors and nurse practitioners in exchange for writingprescriptions for patients who did not exist or did not need thedrugs. During the nearly three year period, almost 2 million dosesof Schedule II controlled substances were distributed, worth morethan $41 million.

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Related: Electronic health records company played a part inpushing opioids

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"Prescription drugs are supposed to go to people who truly needthem, not to fake patients or people selling drugs on the streets,"said U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider said. "We are focusing oncharging doctors, pharmacists, and the networks that add to theopioid crisis, and this case is unfortunately yet another exampleof the serious problem facing Michigan."

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The pharmacists involved in the scheme either billed privateinsurers or Medicare and Medicaid, or accepted cash for the bogusprescriptions.

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The case highlights a growing focus on the role of prescribersand pharmacists in the nation's opioid epidemic.

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According to DEA special agent Keith Martin, "These enforcementactions and others like them around the country, demonstrate ourcommitment to prosecuting licensed professionals who floodcommunities with addictive legal drugs for their own personalbenefit."

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Emily Payne

Emily Payne is director, content analytics for ALM's Business & Finance Markets and former managing editor for BenefitsPRO. A Wisconsin native, she has spent the past decade writing and editing for various athletic and fitness publications. She holds an English degree and Business certificate from the University of Wisconsin.