This is most certainly not our first blog post covering a case involving opioids. It definitely won’t be our last. The Allegiant Experts Blog has long reported on our nation’s horrifying opioid epidemic. Reports have indicated that upwards of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid-related drug overdose.
While the United States joined the rest of the world in being ravaged by COVID-19, between April 2020 and April 2021, there were more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in our country. This is a crisis that sadly rages on. Individuals like 63 year-old Mitchell Spivack are not helping matters.
Spivack has been sentenced for illegally distributing oxycodone.
As the Eastern District of Pennsylvania branch of the United States Department of Justice reports this week, the pharmacy owner was sentenced for his role in an oxycodone distribution plot. According to the report, the Collegeville, Pennsylvania resident was sentenced to three and half years in prison for his actions. He will also endure two years of supervised release and is ordered to pay $451,328 restitution and forfeit $116,000.
Oxycodone is usually sold under the brand names, Roxicodone and OxyContin. It is a semi-synthetic opioid medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. However, the drug is highly addictive and often abused. Charging documents accused Spivack of having a “no questions asked” policy for oxycodone and other dangerous and addictive opioid drugs.
Spivack owned Verree Pharmacy.
The small neighborhood pharmacy is located in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia. There, Spivack was the pharmacist in charge for over thirty years. Along with his co-conspirators, Spivack turned Verree into the largest purchaser of oxycodone among retail pharmacies in all of Pennsylvania.
“In furtherance of the conspiracy, Spivack and his co-conspirators filled prescriptions for wholesale quantities of high-dose oxycodone despite obvious alterations to the prescriptions and other red flags indicating that the drugs were not for a legitimate medical purpose,” reports the DoJ, “In addition, Spivack and other employees of Verree submitted entirely fraudulent claims to health care benefit programs for prescription drugs not dispensed.”
The drugs were designated in patient profiles as “BBDF”.
It is an acronym for “Bill But Don’t Fill.” Between 2013 and 2019, Medicare and other insurers paid over $450,000 for Spivack’s bogus claims. In August 2022, Spivack, Inc. (the new name for Verree Pharmacy) and Spivack himself agreed to pay over $4.1 million to resolve their civil liability under the Controlled Substances Act, False Claims Act and forfeiture. The judgment also permanently bans them from ever dispensing controlled substances again.
United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero made the announcement about Spivack’s sentencing this past Monday. “Pharmacies and pharmacists engage in the deepest violation of the community’s trust when they exploit their access to opioids and other controlled substances and illegally dispense the drugs for their own financial gain,” she is quoted as saying, “It is even more disturbing when pharmacists take advantage of their position of trust by fraudulently billing Medicare and other federal health care programs.”
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