A doctor with the Bond-like sinister name of Gerald Ratinov, along with 18 others, has been arrested in connection with a major prescription painkiller operation, District Attorney Pat Lykos and the local branch of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency have announced.
Hydrocodone was the drug of choice, the DEA said, and Ratinov "utilized his clinics along with select pharmacies to fill fraudulent prescriptions with no medical necessity," the announcement said.
"Doctors and pharmacies have an obligation to comply and operate within the parameters of the law," said the DEA's Thomas Hinojosa. "Dr. Ratinov chose not to do so, which led to an investigation by DEA and our law enforcement counterparts, resulting in the arrest of Dr. Ratinov and others who blatantly violated the law."
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"This is an example of the superb cooperation between federal and local authorities to protect our citizens." Lykos said. "The DEA conducted a brilliant investigation and has stopped a dirty doctor and his cohorts from continuing to profit from the wretchedness of addiction. We will do our part to vigorously prosecute Ratinov and his co-defendants."
Ratinov had three clinics: The Hobby Medical Clinic at 3809 Reveille, the Abundant Life and Weight Loss Center at 3838 Hillcroft and the Astrodome Pain Clinic at 2630 Westridge.
Ratinov, officials said, "acted as the medical director of at least three pain clinics located within Harris County without proper certification and while he was under judicial review by the Texas Medical Board, in violation of Texas law."
The clinics, and four related pharmacies, can no longer operate.