Dr. Muhammad Ali, a Vestivia Hills, AL, physician and owner of a Jasper neurology and pain clinic, was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for writing narcotic painkiller prescriptions without legitimate medical reasoning.
Ali was sentenced on 10 counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances (over 1,100 oxycodone pills) to undercover officers. He was also ordered to forfeit $2,450 to the government, which were considered proceeds of illegal activity, and was fined $85,000.
Ali was one of three Birmingham-area doctors charged last year in an effort on the part of DEA’s Operation Pilluted in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, which focused on reducing the abuse of pharmaceuticals.
The courts has ordered Ali to report to prison on May 10; during his supervised release, he cannot work in any medical facilities that handle or prescribe controlled substances. Ali has surrendered his DEA Controlled Substances Registration and his medical license.
The prescriptions issued to the undercover officers were found to be based on falsified medical examinations and several baseless diagnoses.
U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance commented, “Abuse of prescription opiates, which contribute to heroin addiction, is a nationwide problem that has resulted in epidemic overdose death rates. Alabama leads the nation in the number of per capita prescriptions for opioid painkillers, a troublesome distinction… Doctors who use their prescription pads to provide opiates without legitimate medical reason are illegally dealing drugs.”
In light of the national opioid overdose crisis, many medical professionals have been urged away from over-prescribing drugs and suggesting alternative treatments to patients instead. More than 3,000 physicians incorporate acupuncture, which has been proven to relieve pain, into their clinical practices. However, there are still many medical professionals who are more prone to reach for the prescription pad than anything else.
The State Bureau of Investigation narcotics agency worked closely with federal partners during the investigation.