Howard M. Cooper and Ingrid S. Martin offered insights in a Law360 article analyzing stepped up federal and state opioid-related prosecutions in Massachusetts.
Mr. Cooper said he found "deeply concerning" a December 2018 letter from U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling to an unspecified number of pain medicine physicians warning them that their prescribing practices are under watch.
Mr. Cooper in 2015 obtained an acquittal in federal court in Massachusetts of a doctor charged with unlawfully prescribing opioids to patients.
"The jury I think understood very well that, even within the medical community, there is a legitimate debate about how you approach pain management," Mr. Cooper told Law360. "At the end of the day, it's in all of our interests for physicians to be able to exercise their best judgment in a treatment room."
Ms. Martin, who regularly counsels health care professionals, said she questions whether opioid-related prosecutions against physicians will increase dramatically in 2019.
"I would be surprised if any of the federal agencies were able to identify a significant number of cases where there is proof, beyond a reasonable doubt [that Massachusetts prescribers] were effectively functioning as drug dealers," she said.
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