Sunday, November 28, 2021

PF doctor pays $110,000 to settle allegations

| November 20, 2021 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Dr. Eric Benson, an internist practicing medicine in Post Falls, agreed to pay $110,000 to resolve allegations that he unlawfully prescribed opioids and other controlled substances to patients between 2014-2021, according to a press release Friday from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement, which was based in part on Benson’s ability to pay, also restricts the doctor’s capacity to take on new patients already being prescribed opioids, the release said.

According to the settlement agreement, the government alleged that Benson wrote prescriptions that lacked a legitimate medical purpose and were issued outside the usual course of professional practice in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

The government also alleged that Dr. Benson’s unlawful prescriptions caused the presentation of false claims for prescription drug benefits to Medicare and Medicaid in violation of the False Claims Act.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. said opioid addiction and dependence often begins with doctors prescribing excessive amounts of pain killers to patients who want them, but who do not need them.

“Medical professionals must know that they are civilly accountable under the Controlled Substances Act when they write prescriptions that lack a legitimate medical purpose," he said. "This settlement demonstrates our commitment to an all-of-community approach to addressing the opioid crisis.”