10 ways to stay out of the DEA’s crosshairs

No news attracts attention like a physician who’s in trouble with DEA or their state medical board. So, how does it happen, what are the common issues and what can a physician do to safeguard themselves?

First, let’s look at what the numbers and the research tell us.

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) tells us that 4,091 physicians were disciplined during 2015 (the most recent data set available) by their respective medical boards. And in 2016, over 953,690 physicians were in practice which means that the percentage of physicians that get disciplined yearly amounts to less than one-half of one percent. That’s a very small number.

And in 2008, a study was published by the Center for Practical Bioethics in partnership with the National Association of Attorneys General and the FSMB that reviewed 725 incidents where physicians were charged with opioid prescribing offenses — either criminal or administrative — during a review period from 1998 through 2006. Interestingly, the study found that 89.6 percent of the incidents involved male physicians and that 79 percent of the time they were 45 years of age or older.

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