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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

DOCTOR CHARGED WITH INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER FOR ILLEGALLY PRESCRIBING OPIOIDS

DOCTOR CHARGED WITH INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER FOR ILLEGALLY PRESCRIBING OPIOIDS
AG Alleges Opioids Illegally Prescribed to At-Risk Patient Led to her Death

            WOBURN – A Dracut physician was charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly illegally prescribing opioids to an at-risk patient that resulted in her death, and with illegally prescribing opioids to other at-risk patients for no legitimate medical purposeAttorney General Maura Healey announced today. The doctor was also charged with defrauding the state’s Medicaid program (MassHealth).

Dr. Richard Miron, age 76, a solo practitioner of internal medicine based in Dracut, was indicted on Thursday by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on charges of Illegal Prescribing of Controlled Substances (23 counts), Medicaid False Claims (23 counts), and Involuntary Manslaughter (1 count in connection with the death of one patient). Dr. Miron will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at a later date. 

The AG’s Office began an investigation in September 2017, after the matter was referred by MassHealth. From September 2015 to February 2016, Dr. Miron ranked as the largest provider of high dose, short acting oxycodone prescriptions among all MassHealth providers in the state. MassHealth terminated Dr. Miron from the program in September 2017, and he is not currently practicing medicine following an agreement with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine

The AG’s investigation alleges that Dr. Miron was responsible for the death of a patient on March 17, 2016. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that her death was caused by acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, morphine, codeine and butalbital, all of which were prescribed by Dr. Miron. Investigators allege that Dr. Miron was aware that the victim previously had overdosed on opioids that he had prescribed and was treated and discharged from Lowell General Hospital on February 2, 2016, yet he continued to prescribe large doses of opioids to her on that date and multiple other dates up to March 9, 2016.

The AG’s investigation found that in multiple other instances, Dr. Miron allegedly prescribed opioids, including oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, methadone and hydromorphone to patients for no legitimate medical purpose. The AG’s Office alleges that Dr. Miron prescribed the drugs, which have a high potential for abuse, to some patients despite their documented substance use disorders. Drug screens ordered and reviewed by Dr. Miron indicated that many patients were negative for prescribed opioids and positive for cocaine, heroin or other non-prescribed opioids, but Dr. Miron allegedly continued to prescribe opioids to those patients. The illegal prescriptions Dr. Miron allegedly wrote caused pharmacies to unwittingly falsely bill MassHealth for the medication. 

            These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Steven Hoffman, Deputy Division Chief and was investigated by Investigation Supervisor Christopher Cecchini and Investigator Shelby Stephens, all of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division. Victim Witness Advocate Amber Anderson of the AG’s Victim Services Division is assigned to this case. The death of the victim was investigated by Lowell Police and State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office. The Lowell Police Department, Dracut Police Department, MassHealth, and the Drug Enforcement Administration New England Field Division’s Boston Office provided valuable assistance to this investigation.

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