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60 medical professionals indicted in sweeping opioid bust

60 medical professionals were indicted on Wednesday for issuing more than 350,000 illegal pain pill prescriptions, the Washington Post reports.

Details: The investigation used undercover informants and agents to infiltrate medical practices — including 31 doctors, 8 nurse practitioners, 7 pharmacists and 7 other medical professionals — in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia. Those indicted reportedly exploited their licenses to sell opioids in exchange for money and sexual favors.

  • According to the newly unsealed case documents, the charges include unlawful distribution or dispensing of controlled substances by a medical professional as well as health care fraud, per the Washington Post. Each count carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence, and some defendants are up against multiple counts.

The big picture: This case falls within an extensive Justice Department pursuit to rid the nation of the ongoing opioid epidemic. Last year, the DOJ charged 162 defendants for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other narcotics. Meanwhile, more than 1,500 cities, counties, Native American tribes and unions have filed lawsuits with major drug companies in a massive civil case.