The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigates and prosecutes drug traffickers as well as healthcare providers who prescribe controlled prescription drugs or work in an environment that dispenses or disposes of them, such as hospitals and pharmacies. If you are on their radar for even a minor infraction, such as erroneous coding, you can risk losing your licensing or worse.

You have a right to be heard when your medical, clinic, or DEA license is in jeopardy. Once the DEA targets and investigates you, they will attempt to suspend or revoke your DEA Registration so you cannot prescribe or work with controlled substances. If you do not fight back with the help of a DEA defense attorney, your career can collapse in ruins. When you receive an Order to Show Cause from the DEA, immediately contact a Columbia DEA Administrative Hearing lawyer.

How the DEA Works in South Carolina

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA) requires businesses that transport, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances and all healthcare providers with authority to dispense, prescribe, or administer controlled pharmaceuticals to register with the DEA.

The DEA actively investigates any perceived violations and can take administrative action by ordering the alleged perpetrator to show cause or suspend their DEA license. It is imperative that healthcare providers confronted in this way contact a Columbia DEA administrative hearing attorney.

What is an Order to Show Cause?

Providers facing DEA Registration suspension are typically first served with an Order to Show Cause. When the DEA issues such an order as prescribed by the CSA, providers have the opportunity to explain the circumstances at an administrative hearing and establish why their DEA Registration should not be revoked.

However, the DEA’s powers exceed issuing an Order to Show Cause, and if agents believe the alleged infraction is a danger to public health, they can have an immediate cease and desist order issued, effectively shutting down a prescriber immediately under 21 United States Code §§ 823 and 824. In both cases, the applicants or registered healthcare providers have a right to an administrative hearing.

A DEA registration can be denied, revoked, or suspended for the following:

  • The provider knowingly falsified information required for DEA Registration
  • The applicant is a convicted felon for a crime related to controlled substances
  • The registrant committed an act contrary to the public interest
  • The registrant’s medical license has been suspended or revoked
  • The provider is no longer eligible to participate in Medicare or Medicaid

Once an Order to Show Cause or immediate suspension is issued, the provider can formally request an administrative hearing within 30 days, according to 21 C.F.R. § 1301.43(a). A federal administrative law judge (ALJ) will be assigned to resolve the case after the filing. If the provider does not request a hearing, effectively waiving the right, the dispute will be sent to a federal ALJ to render a final opinion. Contacting a Columbia DEA administrative hearing attorney as soon as possible after an order or suspension is the best way to pursue a favorable outcome.

The Administrative Hearing Process

When a hearing is requested and set, the ALJ will initially order deadlines for written briefs and prehearing discovery, like traditional court actions. The DEA will file a prehearing statement discussing the points they will prosecute and the documents and witnesses they will introduce. The healthcare professional also files documents rebutting the DEAs premises. The judge presides over a prehearing conference where the parties discuss a settlement and set a hearing date. After the hearing, the parties file post briefs discussing proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The judge’s recommendations are sent to the Office of the Administrator for review and final decision. The action is final unless the healthcare professional appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The process is complex, and professionals entangled with the DEA over Registration should enlist a competent Columbia Administrative Hearing attorney for help.

Let a Columbia DEA Administrative Hearing Attorney Represent Your Best Interests

If the DEA believes you abused the privilege and duty to handle controlled substances lawfully, you will need help clearing your name. You are entitled to an administrative law hearing to explain the actions the DEA considers violations.

The administrative process is similar to other court proceedings and should be handled by a competent attorney. Your future may depend on its outcome, and you should not leave anything to chance. A Columbia DEA Administrative Hearing lawyer can help you defend your rights and protect your career. Call today to learn more.

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