SUGARMAN logo
SUGARMAN The Personal Injury Law Firm
617-542-1000

Physician Responsibility in the Massachusetts Opioids Crisis

Posted on December 13, 2018
by Benjamin R. Zimmermann

Benjamin R. Zimmermann
O

On December 6, 2018, Dracut physician Dr. Richard Miron was indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on the charges of Illegal Prescribing of Controlled Substances, Involuntary Manslaughter, and Medicaid False Claims.

The Office of Attorney General Maura Healey first began its investigation into Dr. Miron’s practice in September 2017, upon referral by MassHealth. According to a statement by the AG’s Office, “From September 2015 to February 2016, Dr. Miron ranked as the largest provider of high dose, short acting oxycodone prescriptions among all MassHealth providers in the state.” Its investigation ultimately led the AG’s Office to charge Dr. Miron, a solo internal medicine practitioner, with “involuntary manslaughter for allegedly illegally prescribing opioids to an at-risk patient that resulted in her death,” “illegally prescribing opioids to other at-risk patients for no legitimate medical purpose,” and “defrauding the state’s Medicaid program (MassHealth).”

Dr. Miron’s indictment comes in a backdrop of a larger opioid crisis in the state of Massachusetts, and across the United States. In 2017 alone, Massachusetts reported 1,538 confirmed and estimated overdose deaths. As a part of the state’s efforts to combat opioid abuse, much focus has been drawn on the medical community.

In late November, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling sent letters to a number of doctors and medical professionals in Massachusetts, warning them that their opioid-prescribing practices have raised red flags. These letters went to physicians identified as having prescribed opioids to a patient within 60 days of the patient's death, or to a patient who subsequently died from an opioid overdose. In a statement issued by his office, Lelling said that the goal of these letters is to “reduce overdose deaths by notifying doctors when their patients have died either as a result of — or close in time to — receiving an opioid prescription” and to remind physicians of their responsibility to act in their patients’ best interests.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by a physician’s negligent practice, SUGARMAN’s dedicated team of personal injury attorneys can help. For a consultation, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000, or email info@sugarman.com.