“More people die in America every year from prescription drug overdoses than overdoses of all other drugs combined. Prescription drug addiction has led to resurgence in heroin use. Doctors who divert prescription drugs to the street market are contributing to this epidemic, and we are focusing our enforcement efforts to stop them.” (U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch)
In Farmington Hills Michigan a physician was handcuffed this week and carted off to federal prison to serve a 19-year sentence. This, for his role in a massive drug distribution conspiracy, according to U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch.
Doctor Adelfo Pamatmat, age 71, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland for distributing prescription pills and committing healthcare fraud – both felonies. Two co-conspirators were also convicted in the federal jury trial that lasted nearly two months.
U.S. government investigators discovered that Pamatmat and his partners in crime were running an illicit drug operation, using a fraudulent medical business licensed under the name Compassionate Doctors. The business functioned under the guise of a physicians’ home-health visitation company. But it was in fact a scam that involved fake patients being routinely gathered up in vans and taken to private homes, where they were issued prescriptions for narcotics.
Compassionate Doctors would then bill Medicare daily, for medical exams and treatments that were rarely conducted properly, and usually not conducted at all. The so-called patients would get their illegal prescriptions handled at select pharmacies around town – each of them also a player in the drug-dealing – and then sell the pills on the street for cash. Easy money for all, eh?
Police learned that the physician worked with Compassionate Doctors and other drug dealers until he was arrested in 2013. And then, even after his arrest, he continued to illegally prescribe narcotics until he was caught again in 2015.
At trial the prosecution was able to prove that Pamatmat had prescribed 3,000,000 doses of narcotics to non-patients, including at least 1,000,000 doses of hydrocodone. The wayward physician was able to steal at least $4,000,000 from insurance payers.
Pamatmat was one of 44 people arrested in a multi-count indictment unsealed in March 2013. Five other doctors and five pharmacists have been convicted thus far.
Pamatmat is an immigrant of the Philippines. He attended the Far Eastern University Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation