Primary Care Physicians to Pay $1.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Liability for Submitting Unsupported Diagnoses to the Medicare Advantage Program
PHILADELPHIA – An indictment was filed today charging three doctors in a scheme to sell commonly abused prescription drugs in exchange for cash payments. Charged in the conspiracy are: Dr. Alan Summers, 78, of Ambler, PA; Dr. Azad Khan, 63, of Villanova, PA; and Dr. Keyhosrow Parsia, 79, of Ridley Park, PA. The indictment includes charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, health care fraud, and money laundering and was announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Tuggle, and Special Agent-in-Charge Nick DiGuilio with Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
The indictment alleges that Dr. Summers operated a medical clinic on South Broad Street in Philadelphia, and sometimes operated under the business name “NASAPT” (National Association for Substance Abuse-Prevention & Treatment). Dr. Summers employed numerous other doctors, including Dr. Azad Khan and Dr. Keyhosrow Parsia. The defendants sold prescriptions for Suboxone and Klonopin in exchange for cash payments. Suboxone is a brand name for a drug used to treat opiate addiction. None of the defendants conducted medical examinations or mental health examinations as required by law in order to legally prescribe these controlled substances. Dr. Summers also assisted his customers in obtaining health insurance benefits for these illegally prescribed controlled substances by providing false information to health insurance companies so that his customers could fill the prescriptions using their health insurance. Many of the customers who frequented this clinic were, in fact, drug dealers or drug addicts who sold the prescribed medications. During the duration of the conspiracy, Dr. Summers illegally sold over $5 million worth of controlled substances.
“We have a public health crisis in this county involving prescription drug abuse that is exacerbated by doctors like these defendants,” said Memeger. “Every doctor who abandons his or her ethics to engage in the prescription-for-pay culture is breaking the law. They need to ask themselves whether it is worth the money to put people in danger, to risk the loss of their medical licenses, and to lose their freedom. Our office will continue to investigate and prosecute those individuals whose unscrupulous and illegal conduct contributes to this deadly epidemic.”
“These doctors capitalized on the addiction epidemic that is typically responsible for numerous deaths across our region,” said Tuggle. “The DEA will remain vigilant in pursuing investigations in an effort to combat this serious public health crisis.”
“Doctors who enable addicts betray their profession,” said DiGiulio. “In this case it is alleged the defendants were illegally prescribing dangerous controlled drugs and causing government health care programs to pay for the unnecessary prescriptions, which is health care fraud. We will continue to work with our partners to dismantle dangerous pill mills, protect government funds, and keep the public safe.”
If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a possible prison term, fines, restitution, special assessments, and a term of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Narcotics Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Livermore.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.