WOBURN — A Dracut doctor is facing a slew of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, after he allegedly prescribed opioids that resulted in an at-risk patient’s death, even after she had already overdosed before.
According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Dr. Richard Miron also illegally prescribed opioids to other at-risk patients for no legitimate medical purpose and defrauded MassHealth.
Miron, 76, was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury Thursday on 23 counts of illegal prescribing of controlled substances, 23 counts of Medicaid false claims, and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Miron will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at a later date.
The AG’s Office began investigating Miron in September 2017 after the matter was referred by MassHealth. From September 2015 to February 2016, Miron was the largest provider of high-dose, short-acting Oxycodone prescriptions of all MassHealth care providers across the state.
MassHealth terminated Miron from its program in September 2017. Following an agreement with the state Board of Registration in Medicine, Miron, who was a solo practitioner of internal medicine, is not currently practicing medicine.
The AG’s Office alleges Miron was responsible for the death of a patient on March 17, 2016. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the woman’s death was caused by acute intoxication from the combined effects of fentanyl, morphine, codeine and butalbital, all prescribed by Miron, according to a press release.
State investigators allege Miron was aware the victim had previously overdosed on opioids he had prescribed. The woman was treated and discharged from Lowell General Hospital Feb. 2, 2016, but Miron allegedly continued to prescribe large doses of opioids to her on multiple dates through March 9, 2016. The AG’s Office said the victim would not be identified Tuesday.
The AG’s investigation alleges that Miron prescribed such opioids as oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, methadone and hydromorphone to patients for no legitimate medical purpose on multiple other occasions, including patients with documented substance use disorders.
Miron allegedly continued to prescribe opioids to many patients, despite their drug screens showing they were negative for prescribed opioids but positive for cocaine, heroin and other non-prescribed opioids.
“The illegal prescriptions Dr. Miron allegedly wrote caused pharmacies to unwittingly falsely bill MassHealth for the medication,” according to the press release from the AG’s Office.
At an Editorial Board meeting with The Sun in October, Attorney General Maura Healey reflected on her commitment to battling the opioid crisis. She spoke about working with Gov. Charlie Baker and the state Legislature on laws aimed at changing the prescribing practices for opioids. During her tenure as attorney general, Healey also sued Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma and her office is investigating six opioid painkiller manufacturers and distributors.
“What I can tell you is, I think we have done things that have helped flatten some of the rates of overdoses and fatalities,” Healey told The Sun back in October, adding that there is still a lot of work to be done on the issue.
The Sun visited what appears to have been Miron’s last work address, but there was no sign of his practice. On his profile on www.vitals.com, a patient left a comment in February wishing him a happy retirement.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Hoffman is prosecuting the case. Lowell Police and state police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office investigated the victim’s death.
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