Intended for healthcare professionals


Four US doctors convicted of fraud in $150m scheme to swap opioids for back injections

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 11 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m567
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Canada

Four physicians from Michigan in the US have been convicted of fraud after providing 6.6 million doses of medically unnecessary opioids to patients. In return for receiving the prescriptions, the patients submitted to back injections they didn’t need that the doctors then billed to Medicare.

A federal court found Spilios Pappas, 62, Joseph Betro, 59, Tariq Omar, 62, and Mohammed Zahoor, 53, of Oakland County, Michigan, guilty of healthcare fraud. They will be sentenced this summer.

Seventeen other defendants, including eight other doctors, have already pleaded guilty in the case.

Prosecutors in the trial said that …

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