US Charges Hundreds in Major Health Care Fraud, Opioid Crackdown - NBC4 Washington
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US Charges Hundreds in Major Health Care Fraud, Opioid Crackdown

The Justice Department says the health care fraud take down is the largest in U.S. history

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    This March 23, 2016, file photo, shows oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain on display in Norwich, Connecticut.

    The Department of Justice on Thursday announced charges against 601 people, including doctors, for taking part in alleged health care frauds resulting in over $2 billion in losses and which, in some cases, contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic, Reuters reported

    The department said the arrests are part of the the largest health care fraud takedown in U.S. history. It includes 162 doctors and other suspects charged for their alleged roles in prescribing and distributing addictive opioid painkillers. 

    The fraud crackdown occurs every year, but this year, officials sought to emphasize their efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, which federal health officials say caused more than 42,000 deaths in the United States in 2016.

    "Some of our most trusted medical professionals look at their patients — vulnerable people suffering from addiction — and they see dollar signs," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.