Lawton Hospital and Physicians Pay $550,000 to Settle Civil Penalty Claims Involving Controlled Substance Prescriptions

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Pharmacist giving medicine to customer in modern pharmacy. Rear view of young woman buying analgesic at pharmacy. Happy doctor giving strip of tablet to customer.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Comanche County Hospital Authority (“CCHA”), Troy L. Harden, D.O., and Moncy Varkey, D.O., agreed to pay a total of $550,000 to the United States to settle civil penalty claims related to prescriptions for various non-opioid Schedule II Controlled Substances, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.

Under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and its regulations, prescriptions for controlled substances must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his professional practice.

During the relevant time, Drs. Harden and Varkey were employed by CCHA and practiced medicine on behalf of Lawton Community Health Care Center, Inc. (“CCMH”), in and around Lawton, Oklahoma. The United States alleges that during the period November 2016 to August 2018, Drs. Harden and Varkey issued prescriptions for various non-opioid Schedule II Controlled Substances, without establishing a doctor-patient relationship via a face-to-face encounter with the patient. During this time, CCHA was responsible for certain CCMH operations including administration, management, and regulatory compliance. The United States alleges the prescriptions issued by Drs. Harden and Varkey were outside the usual course of professional practice and that CCHA neglected to implement appropriate prescribing policies and procedures.

To resolve these allegations, CCHA and Drs. Harden and Varkey agreed to pay a total of $550,000 to the United States.

In reaching this settlement, Drs. Harden and Varkey and CCHA did not admit liability, and the government did not make any concessions about the legitimacy of the claims. The agreement allows the parties to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience, and uncertainty involved in litigating the case.

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