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U.S. charges more than 600 people in health-care fraud crackdown

On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced it has charged 601 people, including 162 doctors, with health-care fraud, with some allegedly contributing to the country's opioid crisis by unlawfully distributing prescription painkillers.

This was not one case, but rather dozens of unrelated prosecutions, the Justice Department said. Many of the cases involved people fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid and private insurers for unnecessary prescription drugs, resulting in more than $2 billion in losses, Reuters reports.

Among the individuals arrested and charged are a Floria anesthesiologist accused of running a pill mill; a Pennsylvania doctor who allegedly billed an insurer for illegally prescribed opioids; and the owner of a Texas pharmacy chain who allegedly improperly filled an order for opioids and then sold the pills to drug dealers. The Department of Justice has been investigating some opioid manufacturers, but none were targeted in this crackdown.