News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2007

United States Sues Potosi, Missouri Doctor in Civil Suit Alleging Prescription Drug Diversion & Medicaid Fraud

JUN 21 -- St. Louis, Missouri: The United States filed a civil suit against Dr. Seth Paskon seeking civil penalties, fines, and a permanent injunction limiting Dr. Paskon’s ability to prescribe assorted drugs, United States Attorney Catherine L. Hanaway announced today.

The civil complaint alleges that Dr. Paskon has a history of problems with the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts and the Missouri Medicaid program, with frequent warnings to Dr. Paskon regarding his use of powerful prescription drugs, such as Morphine, Methadone, Vicodin®, and Oxycontin.

A number of Dr. Paskon’s patients were beneficiaries of the Missouri Medicaid program, received large amounts of powerful prescription drugs from Dr. Paskon, and died shortly thereafter, with the Coroners’ Reports suggesting that prescription drug overdoses or prescription drug intoxication caused the patients’ deaths.

Dr. Paskon also provided large amounts of pain and anxiety relief prescription drugs to a visibly pregnant patient. The pregnant patient eventually delivered a baby, with both the baby and mother showing high levels of these drugs in their blood at the time of delivery. The prescription drugs provided by Dr. Paskon are not traditionally prescribed for or used with pregnant patients or infants.

The Controlled Substances Act forbids doctors from prescribing drugs outside the usual course of medical practice or without a legitimate medical purpose. Civil violations of the Controlled Substances Act can trigger monetary penalties of up to $25,000 per violation, and an injunction preventing future violations.

The complaint states that the prescriptions regarding the deceased patients referenced in the complaint were illegal, as they were outside the usual course of medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, meaning the United States is entitled to civil penalties and an injunction under the Controlled Substance Act.

The False Claims Act prohibits the submission of false or fraudulent claims for reimbursement to the Government. Violations of the False Claims Act entitle the Government to three times the actual loss to the Government, plus civil penalties.

The complaint says that the Missouri Medicaid program unknowingly paid for a number of these drugs and related office visits and that the drugs and visits were neither medically necessary nor documented properly in Dr. Paskon’s files. Accordingly, the United States is entitled to damages and civil fines under the False Claims Act.

“With our law enforcement partners over the last two years, we have brought a number of criminal and civil cases regarding prescription drug diversion in rural Missouri Counties,” said Hanaway. “Prescription drug diversion is a serious problem in Missouri, creating serious health risks for those abusing these powerful drugs. We will continue to investigate potential violations of federal law, and bring cases whenever appropriate.”

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, and Washington County Prosecutor John Rupp.