TUCSON, Ariz., March 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an appeal of a 21-year prison sentence of Dr. Xiulu Ruan, after lower courts denied him a good-faith defense for his pain-management prescriptions. As the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (“AAPS”) argued in its amicus brief, such prison sentences should not be imposed against a physician who acts in good faith in treating pain.

Most of the justices expressed disagreement with convicting a physician for pain prescriptions without allowing him a good-faith defense. Justice Brett Kavanaugh properly expressed his dismay that “if you’re on the wrong side of a close call about what you believed, you go to prison for 20 years?” Justice Neil Gorsuch continued that line of questioning.

Dr. Ruan holds a record eight board certifications, and yet is imprisoned for being a high-volume prescriber of pain medication. “There is always a top prescriber of something, but that statistic does not make him guilty of a crime,” observes AAPS General Counsel Andrew Schlafly. “The top prescribers become scapegoats for wrongdoing by others, and eliminating the top prescribers does not alleviate the misuse of pain medications.”

“These draconian prison sentences for practicing good-faith medicine are uncivilized,” Mr. Schlafly continued.

“While doctors languish in prison, and other doctors are deterred from prescribing needed medications, patients suffer,” stated AAPS executive director Jane Orient, M.D.

The good-faith defense is allowed in the First, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, as Dr. Ruan’s attorney explained. The Supreme Court could establish the good-faith defense nationwide in this case.

“Nearly all the Justices appeared to agree, as they should, with requiring courts to allow a good-faith defense for physicians who write pain prescriptions,” observed Mr. Schlafly about oral argument.

The High Court consolidated this case of Ruan v. United States, No. 20-1410, with that of Dr. Shakeel Kahn in Kahn v. United States, No. 21-5261. Dr. Kahn received an even more egregious prison sentence of 25 years for his pain-management practice.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943. Its motto is omnia pro aegroto (everything for the patient).

SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

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