A recent U.S. Department of Justice press release sheds light on the devastating consequences of opioid misuse and inappropriate prescriptions. The DOJ’s press release discussed a dentist who has been convicted for unlawfully distributing opioids, which led to the premature death of a patient.

Dr. Jay M. Sadrinia, a Kentucky dentist, owned and ran dental clinics in Crescent Springs, Kentucky.  According to the DOJ, Dr. Sadrinia was explicitly warned about his prescribing habits and how it put his patients at risk.  Despite warnings, the DOJ says that Dr. Sadrinia prescribed powerful medications, including morphine and opioids, for routine dental procedures.  The DOJ highlighted one example where Dr. Sadrinia illegally prescribed medically unnecessary quantities of narcotics.  Several days later, the patient died from an overdose.  While the DOJ’s press release notes Dr. Sadrinia charged $37,000 for dental procedures, it does not label the procedures as medically unnecessary or describe the charges as fraudulent.  It is possible that dental treatment(s) costing $36,000 may have been the result of extensive dental care.  The press release, however, does not detail Dr. Sadrinia’s position, if any, or the specific procedures performed before the prescriptions.  The press release does not detail the alleged basis for the prescriptions or what exactly the DOJ found problematic (e.g., quantity of prescription, dosage, type of medication, etc.).

Despite any defense or position that Dr. Sadrinia’s may have raised, a federal jury convicted Dr. Sadrinia of unlawful distribution of controlled substances resulting in death (one count) and unlawful distribution of controlled substances (one count).  For the unlawful distribution of controlled substances resulting in death conviction, the 60-year-old Dr. Sadrinia will receive the mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison but faces up to a maximum penalty of life in prison.  For the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, Dr. Sadrinia faces up to 20 years in prison.  A federal judge will decide Dr. Sadrinia’s sentencing, usually after considering the federal sentencing guidelines and other factors.

Dr. Sadrinia’s conviction serves as a reminder of the dangers associated with prescriptions for dangerous medications, particularly those often abused.  Providers should ensure they are maintaining a robust compliance program and ensuring medical necessity and the applicable standard of care are met. 

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with government investigations, Medical Board matters, and healthcare administrative matters. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.