WHEELING, W.Va. — The United State’s Attorney for West Virginia’s Northern District tells MetroNews he had a startling realization during a recent investigation of suboxone fraud.
“There are more Suboxone doctors in West Virginia now than pediatricians,” said Federal Prosecutor Bill Powell appearing on MetroNews Talkline. “That should give you an indication of where things are going.”
Powell’s office, working with the U.S. Attorney of the western district of Pennsylvania, managed to obtain indictments on five doctors working with the Redirections Treatment Advocates LLC. The company, which provides treatment for opioid addiction, has outlets in Morgantown and Weirton in West Virginia and two other locations in Pennsylvania.
Prosecutors claimed in their case the doctors were prescribing unlimited doses of buprenophrine, which is a key component of Subutex and Suboxone and used in the treatment of opioid addiction. The prescriptions were billed to Medicaid and according to Powell there was no concern for the level of drugs which might wind up in a patient’s system.
“It’s total greed,” said Powell. “When you write false prescriptions and then bill for it, people who don’t have the money–essentially the government becomes the financier for these addictions.”
Defendants named in the indictment are:
–Dr. Krishan Kumar Aggarwal, 73, of Moon Township, PA, a contractor for RTA in Weirton, WV
–Dr. Madhu Aggarwal, 68, of Moon Township, PA, a contractor for RTA in Bridgeville, PA
–Dr. Parth Bharill, 69, of Pittsburgh, PA, a contractor for RTA in Morgantown, WV
–Dr. Cherian John, 65, of Coraopolis, PA, a contractor for RTA in Weirton, WV
–Dr. Michael Bummer, 38, of Sewickley, PA, a contractor for RTA in Washington, PA
“Drug dealers who wear lab coats,” said Powell of those indicted. “We have no patience for medical practitioners, these are the people others go to for proper care. When these folks are doing this, it just creates massive problems.”