In a Major Triumph for Physicians Who Prescribe Pain Medication, Federal Jury Acquits Bronx Doctor on All 10 Counts of Illegally Dispensing Vicodin and Lorcet

Copyright 2007, Medicine & Law Week via

2007 JUN 1 -- On Friday, May 11, after deliberating less than a day, a federal jury in New York's Southern District found Dr. Amara S. Conteh, 65, not guilty on all 10 charges that he dispensed Vicodin and Lorcet without a legitimate medical purpose and in a manner inconsistent with accepted medical practice. Dr. Conteh conducted a general medical practice with a pediatric specialty in the Bronx for 24 years. Treating adult patients for pain represented just a fraction of the overall patient care he provided.

Dr. Conteh's attorney, Patrick A. Mullin, a veteran New York City federal criminal trial attorney, said the jury's verdict served justice.

"The jury's resounding not guilty verdict on each and every count should send a loud, clear message to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which prosecuted these charges, that its diversion resources must be focused on education, not prosecution. Here, a federal jury clearly rejected the criminal prosecution of this fine and gentle physician who had long served his community with skill and compassion."

Mr. Mullin warns that all physicians should remain ever vigilant in their prescribing practices for pain medication, including keeping accurate and detailed patient records, conducting full and appropriate patient examinations, watching for signs of drug seeking behavior and being alert for indications of substance abuse, dependence, or diversion on the part of patients. Without adhering to these and other recommendations, more good doctors may find themselves being targeted for prosecution by the DEA. Mr. Mullin noted, for example, that the DEA paid a wired informant, a patient of the doctor's, $1,000.00 to record an appointment with Dr. Conteh.

Patrick A. Mullin concentrates in federal criminal defense and complex tax defense matters. He has argued before the United States Supreme Court and is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and circuit courts across the country. He is a practicing member of the New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC, bars.

Mr. Mullin has been an active member of the Practitioners Advisory Group to the United States Sentencing Commission for well over a decade. He writes and lectures on federal criminal, tax defense, federal sentencing, mandatory minimums and related areas.

This article was prepared by Medicine & Law Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2007, Medicine & Law Week via

Medicine & Law Weekly, June 1, 2007, page 268

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