By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) knocking at your door or, even worse, going through your files inside your office?
This is what you need to know right now!
YES, you do have the right to call your attorney. Call your attorney right now. If you cannot, ask one of your employees or spouse to call your attorney. Get your attorney involved right now!
NO, do not sign a document to relinquish or voluntarily give up your DEA registration number. If you do so, this will probably be the biggest mistake you make of your life.
NO, do not sign a document waiving your right to a grand jury investigation before the DEA is authorized to charge you. Why would you want to voluntarily give up one of your most important constitutional rights?
Don’t be fooled by what the DEA agents tell you.
The DEA has the reputation (and, in my experience, deservedly so) of making false statements to individuals about what will happen to them or not happen to them if they do not “Cooperate” with the DEA by giving up their rights.
Often they will handcuff the pharmacist or the physician who is the subject of their raid, search warrant, or subpoena as a method of intimidating them. Then they will threaten the person by arresting them and jailing them immediately if they do not sign a “voluntary” relinquishment of their DEA registration. Yet once you do this, your DEA registration is gone, and you will most likely never get one again.
We have even had the report from a physician recently where the DEA agents, during executing a search warrant (not an arrest warrant, by the way), of having the doctor sign a document waiving her right to having a grand jury hearing on any charges she may have been facing. The threat was that she needed to waive her rights or be arrested on the spot and taken to jail. She signed without consulting an attorney.
If you are a pharmacist or pain management physician, or you own or operate a pain management practice, or if you prescribe or dispense opioids, you must have the name and phone number of a good health lawyer and a good criminal lawyer on hand and post at all times! It is only a matter of time before you need to use it.
Have this information in your wallet and taped to every telephone and computer in your office. But use it right away. Call your attorney right away. Your attorney will come over or brief you on what to do or not do.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Pharmacies and Pharmacists.
The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists and pharmacies in DEA, DOH, and FDA investigations, qui tam and whistleblower cases, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, administrative hearings, inspections, and audits. The firm’s attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law, as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.
To contact The Health Law Firm, call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620. Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: PAlexander@TheHealthLawFirm.com or fax them to (407) 331-3030.
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