Florida is reported to have one of the worst prescription drug abuse problems in the country. Because of this issue, pain management physicians have been under increasing scrutiny and attack by federal and state agencies. If you are a pain management physician or you work in a pain a management clinic, you need to be aware of the measures that state and federal agencies are taking against doctors who practice pain management and the owners of pain management clinics.
A news release sent out by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) this summer discusses “inspections” of physicians’ offices across the state, allegedly to ensure compliance with Florida’s new prescription drug law (House Bill 7095). However, many of these may be more aptly termed as “raids.” These raids, under the guise of being inspections, have resulted in a massive quantity of narcotics being seized from clinics and physicians’ offices by the Strike Force. It is claimed that no search warrants are necessary as the Strike Force states it is performing an “administrative inspection.” The pain management physicians targeted by these inspections are identified based on their purchasing, prescribing and dispensing levels.
Often these “inspections” will include Department of Health Investigators, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agents, local police and law enforcement agents, and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents.
- Our primary concern and warning to the physician or owner is to not talk to any investigators or inspectors, but call your personal attorney immediately. Have the investigator or inspector talk to your attorney. All communications should be with and through your attorney.
- If you are requested to “voluntarily” relinquish (give up) your DEA registration or your medical license or other professional license, do not do this. It will not help you and it will make every aspect of your case more difficult to defend.
- Do not make any statement (oral or written) or allow yourself to be interviewed.
- Obtain the complete names, addresses, titles and agencies for each agent there. Obtain their business cards (which they should have).
- Do not volunteer up any documents, items or information.
To read more about inspections from the document released by the Florida Department of Health click here.
If your office has been “inspected” and you need legal representation, you may call and speak to one of our health attorneys at (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001.