The governor of New York recently announced another legal tool it will use in its fight against the current opioid epidemic. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) has filed an insurance fraud action against one of the major opioid manufacturers in the area.
Why is this significant?
The charges come after the manufacturer agreed to a settlement for other criminal charges in related matters. On February 25, 2020, the manufacturer agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle state and local government lawsuits for its role in the opioid epidemic.
The move shows the flexibility of the government to pursue an array of criminal charges, including Medicare fraud, during its fight against the opioid epidemic. As a result, medical professionals, manufacturers and others that could be considered connected to the opioid epidemic are wise to take any allegations seriously and seek legal counsel.
What are the charges?
The DFS claims the pharmaceutical company fraudulently misrepresented the safety of opioid drugs. This led medical professionals to unnecessarily prescribe the medication and allegedly fueled the current opioid addiction problem.
According to the investigation, the manufacturer, Mallinckrodt, was responsible for 39% of the opioid pills that “flooded New York” from 2006 through 2014. The resulting addiction led to additional strain on insurance, ultimately raising the cost for all New Yorkers. As a result, the DFS is pursuing charges the manufacturer’s actions directly impacted the cost of insurance throughout the state and rose to the level of insurance fraud.