Morristown Doctor Added as Seventh Defendant in Opioid Lawsuit
A Morristown doctor has been added as the seventh defendant in a lawsuit filed against three major pharmaceutical companies, a Kingsport clinic and two individuals by three Northeast Tennessee district attorneys general alleging that they all contributed to Tennessee’s “opioid epidemic.”
Dr. Abdelrahman Hassabu Mohamed is accused in the suit of participating in the “illegal drug market for opioids.” Mohamed is the owner and operator of Hamblen Neuroscience Center in Morristown, which is labeled a “pill mill” in the suit. It claims that many of the prescriptions he issued were diverted to the illegal opioid drug market.
First Judicial District Attorney Tony Clark, Second Judicial District Attorney Barry Staubus and Third Judicial District Attorney Dan Armstrong filed the suit in June. Baby Doe is also listed as a plaintiff and represents all babies born in Tennessee with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or babies who are born addicted to drugs.
For a single day, 40-60, sometimes more, “pain management” appointments were scheduled at Mohamed’s center, according to the suit. To handle the high volume of customers, he used a “drive-through,” the suit states.
Customers stood in line outside Mohamed’s office and he spent one to two minutes talking to each in his office and they would be given a signed, pre-filled prescription card, the suit states. Mohamed prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, Opana, and Oxycontin, according to the lawsuit.
“He admitted that he knew his customers commonly understood that they could obtain opioid prescriptions without him closely scrutinizing their dubious pain claims,” the suit states. “He also admitted that he understood when he issued the prescriptions he was doing so ‘outside the scope of ordinary medical practice.’”
Mohamed is charged with 10 counts of Medicare, Medicaid and TennCare fraud and one count of mail fraud in federal court. A plea agreement dated May 22, signed by Mohamed, is on file in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. He is scheduled to enter his plea in court next month.