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US charges 400 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion

WASHINGTON — More than 400 people have been charged with taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday. Sessions called the collective action the “largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history” and said it indicates that some doctors, nurses and pharmacists “have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients.” The people charged were illegally billing Medicare, Medicaid and the health insurance program that serves members of the armed forces, retired service members and their families, the Justice Department said. [...] Thursday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine pushed the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration to bolster a public health approach that already has resulted in the painkiller Opana ER being pulled from the market. Panel scientists said the FDA should review the safety and effectiveness of all opioids, and consider the real-world impacts the powerful painkillers have, not only on patients, but also on families, crime and the demand for heroin.

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