Feds: LA OxyContin ring used Medicare

Oct. 13, 2011 at 4:37 PM

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Two doctors were among 14 defendants named in an indictment targeting a Los Angeles ring that allegedly peddled prescription OxyContin obtained from Medicare.

The group allegedly tapped into Medicare's Part D drug program for a supply of more than 1 million OxyContin pills that were sold on the street for $23-$27 apiece.

"The organization not only flooded the streets of Los Angeles with an extremely dangerous narcotic, it also bilked a government-run program designed to help the poor and elderly," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said in a written statement.

Birotte said the defendants were based at a downtown Los Angeles clinic that allegedly used a cadre of "cappers" to recruit individuals who were given OxyContin prescriptions.

The ring, which also billed Medicare and California's Medical system for more than $6 million for examinations and procedures, allegedly wrote nearly 11,000 OxyContin prescriptions billed to Medicare in an 18-month period.

The two alleged ringleaders who operated the clinic, Mike Mikaelian and Anjelika Sanamian, were arrested this week by a federal, state and local task force. Also charged were Drs. Eleanore Santiago and Morris Halfon, and the owner of a chain of drug stores where many of the allegedly bogus prescriptions were filled.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
Multiple attacks escalate Jerusalem violence; gun restrictions could ease"
Genetic changes could make pig organs usable for human transplant
Five Democratic presidential candidates meet in Las Vegas for first debate
Confederate flag group charged with terrorist threats
Report: MH17 downed by Russian-made missile