Many people do not realize just how much they stand to lose with a drug trafficking conviction. Now that the opioid crisis has become a national epidemic, many doctors and pharmaceutical representatives find themselves playing Russian roulette with their careers and their patients’ health just to line their pockets with profits from overprescribing opioids, fentanyl and other harmful narcotics. New York is one of the strictest jurisdictions in the country when it comes to drug crimes.
The crackdown on doctors writing too many prescriptions for unnecessary drugs has cast a wide net, casting a negative light on the medical profession. What many people fail to realize is that doctors are not solely to blame. Some of the liability rests on the pharmaceutical companies. Recently, a pharmaceutical company was placed under investigation for racketeering claims that it encouraged its drug sales reps to resort to unethical measures to boost drug sales. Besides staging bogus presentations to boost fentanyl and opioid narcotic sales by selling to friends and family, a Michigan doctor claims the company’s sales rep enticed him to write extra prescriptions with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, dances from exotic dancers and complimentary meals as kickbacks to comply.
Drug trafficking is a serious crime that carries a hefty sentence if convicted. The state classifies all drug trafficking cases as felonies. Doctors who fraudulently prescribe, dispense and bill for unnecessary drugs risk being charged as major drug traffickers. A drug trafficking conviction of this magnitude is an A-1 felony and given to professionals who possess and have the intent to distribute or sell narcotics worth $75,000 or higher.
An A-1 felony carries a 15-year minimum incarceration sentence. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the criminal allegations, doctors risk more than their credentials to practice and livelihoods, they could also end up spending the rest of their lives in prison and paying fines.