Federal agents raided four pain clinics in Palm Beach County, Fla., and arrested 11 people, including five physicians, who ran or were affiliated with the "pill mills," reports the Palm Beach Post News.
The doctors in question made millions of dollars by illegally distributing oxycodone and other pain killers without a legitimate medical reason, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement. Florida prescribes 10 times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined, he noted.
The arrests were part of a massive multi-agency pill mill raid called "Operation Pill Nation," which also targeted crooked clinics in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The extensive pill mill takedown charged 17 people and seized tens of millions of dollars in cash, cars and property, officials announced yesterday.
Undercover agents visited Delray Pain Management in Delray Beach, 45th Street Medical in Lake Worth, West Palm Medical Center in West Palm Beach, and North Palm Pain Management in Lake Park dozens of times and recorded the suspect business practices.
Federal agents also made 340 undercover prescription drug buys from more than 60 doctors working at more than 40 pain clinics statewide. At Midtown Pain Management in Miami-Dade, undercover agents posing as patients were prescribed hundreds of oxycodone pills without an examination, notes the Miami Herald.
The raids came as Gov. Rick Scott intends to get rid of a state prescription drug monitoring program that tracks when and where prescriptions are filled. Scott argues the program invades privacy while proponents say it will prevent illegal pill mills from operating.