People with inside information about illegal activities in pill mills can receive compensation for blowing the whistle on the wrongdoer's bad acts. As America grapples with the consequences of a growing opioid epidemic, awards are available for individuals who speak up and shine a light on those who are profiting from addiction and death.
Curbing Opioids in America
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for individuals under the age of 50. Two-thirds of drug overdose deaths stem from opioid abuse. The US Department of Justice is aggressively investigating and prosecuting pill mills. The Prescription Interdiction and Litigation Task Force, the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, and other state and federal agencies are currently pursuing thousands of reports of pill mills and illicit dealings within the medical and pharmaceutical industry.
Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin, Lortab, morphine, codeine, Tramadol, and fentanyl are some of the most commonly overprescribed medications in the country. Opioids are responsible for more than 130 fatalities every day in the United States.
These clinics, pharmacies, and physicians overprescribe opioid medications to patients even though there is little to no evidence the patient needs these medications. These mills make millions of dollars in profits while their patients are left with debilitating and often deadly addictions to the opioids they were prescribed.
Recognizing Pill Mills
Pill mills often offer limited treatments, and those that are offered include opioids. They often keep poor medical records and prescribe opioids after cursory examinations. In many cases, the clinic or physician has an on-site pharmacy that fills the prescriptions.
Many pill mills accept payments only in cash. Some have "recruiters" who bring patients into the facility. The clinic or physician may even offer to buy back any unused pills from their patients. Each of these red flags represents numerous ethical and legal violations.
Protecting and Rewarding Whistleblowers
Whistleblowers are protected by state and federal laws that prevent retaliatory actions against them. So long as the complaint was filed in good faith, these protections remain in place if investigators determine no wrongdoing has occurred.
Individuals qualify for an award if the evidence and information provided is not publicly available. When this information leads to a conviction, the whistleblower is entitled to receive a portion of the penalty assessed against the accused party. The greater the penalty assessed, the greater the reward for the whistleblower.