Across the country, the DOJ has been attempting to hold prescribers criminally liable for over-prescribing opioids to patients. On June 27, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Ruan v. United States, addressing the standards for prosecuting such physicians. The Ruan decision held that the crime of prescribing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice requires that the defendant “knowingly or intentionally” acted in an unauthorized manner.
The Ruan decision has already been invoked by physicians in at least fifteen (15) ongoing prosecutions across ten (10) states according to a review conducted by Kaiser Health News. According to the survey, physicians have cited the decision in post-conviction appeals, motions for acquittal, new trials, and plea reversals.