indica News Bureau-
A doctor of Indian origin is among those charged with healthcare fraud in continuing action by the justice department across seven federal districts in northeastern United States.
The department announced coordinated action against the fraud that resulted in a loss of over $800 million for government programs and the distribution of over 3.25 million opioid pills in “pill mill” clinics, The Indian Panorama website reported last week.
New charges have been pressed against 48 defendants for their roles in submitting over $160 million in fraudulent claims, including charges against 15 doctors and other medical professionals, while 24 were charged for their roles in diverting opioids, the website reported.
Neil K Anand, MD, is among those charged in Pennsylvania’s eastern district. Anand, 42, of Bensalem, was charged with Asif Kundi, 31, Atif Mahmood Malik, 34, and Viktoriya Makarova, 33, all of Philadelphia.
Anand, a medical doctor, Kundi and Malik, unlicensed foreign medical school graduates, and nurse Makarova were indicted on one count of healthcare fraud and one of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, the report said.
The charges stem from their alleged submission of fraudulent claims to Medicare and to health plans provided by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Independence Blue Cross (IBC).
The claims were allegedly for “goody bags”, bags of unnecessary prescription medications dispensed by non-pharmacy dispensing sites owned by Anand.
In all, Medicare, OPM and IBC paid over $4 million for the goody bags, according to the indictment. Patients were allegedly required to take the bags to receive prescriptions for controlled substances.
Malik and Kundi allegedly wrote these prescriptions using pre-signed blank prescriptions from Anand and Makarova. Over 10,000 prescriptions were allegedly issued for Schedule II controlled substances, of which over 7,000 were for oxycodone totaling 634,000 tablets.
This is among the largest healthcare frauds ever investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and prosecuted by the Department of Justice. The investigation has already resulted in charges against 21 other defendants.