A doctor and four other suspects accused of purchasing prescription drugs from patients and reselling them to manufacturers have been arrested in a Miami-Dade pharmaceutical diversion bust, police said.
A multi-agency task force that includes Miami-Dade Police, the FDA, the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services made the arrests Wednesday morning.
Dr. Rafael Prats, 61, Yulia Martinez, 31, Dax Osle, 41, Jose Capote, 38, and David Rodriguez were all in custody, officials said. It was unknown if they have attorneys.
Prats is a licensed South Florida gynecologist.
The task force has also recovered $3.5 million in cash and seized jewelry, art and vehicles with an estimated value of $1 million.
According to police, the suspects buy the prescription drugs and resell them to manufacturers at well below normal production costs. Most of the drugs are paid for by the tax payer through Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance companies.
The crime puts patients at risk of receiving adulterated drugs that are unfit for consumption, authorities said.
"Not only does it have an economic impact, it puts a lot of citizens at risk and in danger," Miami-Dade Police Deputy Director Juan Perez said.
The five people arrested Wednesday were charged with organized fraud and violating a list to state prescription drug laws.
"The FDA oversees the legitimate prescription drug supply chain to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the drugs; once a prescription drug is diverted outside of the regulated distribution channels, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for regulators or the unsuspecting consumer to know whether the drug is authentic, safe and effective,” FDA Special Agent David Bourne said. “We will continue to focus our efforts on the criminals who carry out these illegal activities and work to bring them to justice."
Investigators said more arrests could be coming.