Do these doctors treat the pain or the medication?

Over the past 15 years, as federal agents raid pill factories and prosecutions increase, language around “legitimate medical purposes” and “professional practice” has been adopted by the courts. Different federal appeals interpret differently. Those readings guide how the judge instructs the jury on what they must find out in order to convict or acquit the prescriber.

In short, requiring a clear legal standard, health law and policy professors argue that some the courts of appeals – including the US Court of Appeals for 11th Street, which upheld Dr. Ruan’s conviction, and the US Court of Appeals for 10th Street, which favored Dr. Kahn – allow doctors to convicted if they deviate from accepted medical practice. , without a jury having to find that the doctor did so “for no legitimate medical purpose”. They say that standard lacks a key component of criminal law: intent.

That factor, the professors wrote, distinguishes good, possibly negligent, doctors from criminal doctors. With no requirement of intent, the Controlled Substances Act “has been weaponized against practitioners in response to the overdose crisis,” they said. They say prosecutions have increased, while standards for conviction have “gradually eroded.”

The professors argue that this broad standard could force doctors to determine that a patient needs an opioid prescription beyond the usual limits. Doctors who prescribe drugs off-label, a common practice, may also fall below that standard.

By contrast, other circuits require prosecutors to reasonably demonstrate that doctors not only knew they had deviated from accepted medical practice but also, and importantly, prescribing no legitimate purpose.

But how far can a well-intentioned defense be stretched? Is it enough for doctors to simply argue that they believe the prescriptions serve a legitimate medical purpose?

Then, “good faith” seems to be a subjective criterion; “Legal medical purpose”, an objective purpose. If so, the two would inherently clash. Do these doctors treat the pain or the medication?

Fry Electronics Team

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