Jeff Sessions promises drug crackdown in Cleveland

(Cuyahoga County) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a news conference at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Cleveland, to announce a crackdown on doctors and others,  who illegally or unnecessarily distribute and prescribe painkillers and other drugs. 

Two Ohio doctors are now banned from writing prescriptions under the Controlled Substances Act. 

Michael Tricaso of Akron, and Gregory Gerber of Sandusky. According to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Tricaso operates the Better Living Clinic, currently located at 1236 Weathervane Lane, Suite 300, in Akron. 

He promotes the Better Living Clinic at gyms across Northeast Ohio and also serves as the “gym doctor” at a gym in Painesville.

Gerber operated Gregory J. Gerber, M.D. LLC  from 2819 Hayes Avenue, Suite 4 in Sandusky. 

Gerber received $175,000 between 2013 and 2016 from Insys Therapeutics, Inc. to promote Subsys, a liquid formulation of fentanyl applied under the tongue a spray used to treat cancer-related pain. These payments violate the False Claims Act prohibition against kickbacks, according to the complaint.

Sessions also announced the unsealing of a 43-count indictment in federal court in Cleveland, which charges two Chinese citizens with operating a conspiracy that manufactured and shipped deadly fentanyl analogues and 250 other drugs to at least 25 countries and 37 states.  

The indictment also alleges the drugs sold by the group directly led to the fatal overdoses of two people in Akron, Ohio.

Fujing Zheng, aka Gordon Jin, 35, and his father Guanghua Zheng, 62, both of whom reside in Shanghai, China, are charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to import controlled substances into the United States, operating a continued criminal enterprise, money laundering and other crimes. 

The charges carry a potential sentence of life imprisonment because the drugs involved resulted in death, and the defendants’ conduct qualifies for an enhancement under the kingpin statute.

Sessions says President Trump has pledged to dramatically decrease the number of opioid deaths, not necessarily through arrests, but also through detection and treatment. He says that includes civil action against drug manufacturers, and physicians.

(Photos by Robb Bailey/WTAM & the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland)

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US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Cleveland

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