A “pill mill” is a facility, such as a pain clinic, that is being used for the illegal distribution of prescription pain killers. Generally, those who operate pill mills distribute drugs to individuals who don’t have legitimate prescriptions. Often there is an absence of physical examinations, diagnoses, medical monitoring, documentation or any sufficient medical history to warrant the drugs.
Operating a pill mill can land you in prison.
Dr. Felicia Lyn Donald is about to experience that first hand. As reported by the Eastern District of Virginia branch of the United States Department of Justice yesterday, the former Fairfax physician has been sentenced to seven years in prison. She is guilty of leading and organizing an extensive and illegal prescription distribution conspiracy as well as a related health care fraud scheme.
According to the DoJ report, court documents show that Donald organized, led and operated her pill mill between April 2016 and April 2020. At the time, the 65 year-old Great Falls resident was practicing at For Women OB/GYN Associates and NOVA Addiction Center. During her scheme, Donald distributed over 1.2 million milligrams (mg) of Schedule II opioids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this amount exceeded the guideline for dosages that a practitioner should avoid. In total, the street value of the drugs Donald dispensed was over $1.2 million. She also illegally distributed at least 325,190 mg of oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances. In addition, Donald committed health care fraud on several occasions in order to further her scheme.
Pill mills are typically run to profit off of drug addicts and drug dealers.
The DoJ reveals that Donald admitted to prescribing opioids to such individuals. Many of them had traveled from out-of-state or long distances to her practice in order to get their hands on the illegally-distributed drugs. Several, in fact, even informed Donald of their pending drug charges.
She also dispensed drugs to people who she knew had failed urine toxicology screens. Drugs were also prescribed to individuals who Donald knew were selling the meds to others. She also admitted to knowing that opioids and alprazolam are a dangerous combination. Together, the drugs can either kill or cause serious bodily injury to their users. Nevertheless, Donald often prescribed these drugs as a combo.
Donald attempted to conceal her patterns of illegal activity.
She did so “by falsifying medical records to make it appear as though individuals who were never her patients received examinations and medical care, when in fact they had not, and engaging in Medicaid fraud,” reports the DoJ, “Donald fraudulently issued prescriptions to others in the names of at least nine unwitting individuals, none of whom were her patients. Donald also issued prescriptions for high doses of oxycodone to multiple women who were pregnant.”
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