On March 24, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that James Pierre, a doctor in Houston, was convicted for unlawfully prescribing more than one million hydrocodone and carisoprodol pills.  This opioid combination is widely known as a “Las Vegas Cocktail.” 

According to the government, from June 2015 through July 2016, “Pierre prescribed the drugs to hundreds of individuals posing as patients each week.”  Individuals referred to as “runners” were tasked with bringing numerous people to pose as patients at West Parker Medical Clinic in Houston.  The DOJ considers West Parker “a pill-mill clinic,” an illegal facility that resembles a regular pain clinic but regularly prescribes medically unnecessary painkillers.

For his role in the scheme, Pierre received $220 to $500 in cash for each visit that resulted in prescriptions for the drugs. Over the course of time, West Parker made approximately $1,750,000 from the illegal prescriptions.  Pierre personally received over $300,000.  

Pierre was convicted of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and seven counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27 and faces up to 160 years in prison.  One co-conspirator pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with healthcare investigations, including both criminal and civil cases.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.