The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the convictions of Shakeel Kahn, MD, a physician who had been convicted of unlawfully prescribing opioids, Bloomberg Law reported Feb. 3.
The court ruled that the jury was not properly instructed on the "mental state required to secure a conviction," the report said. The jury was told Dr. Khan could be convicted if he acted outside the usual course of professional medical practice, but was not instructed that it needed to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted knowingly and intentionally.
The case, which considered Dr. Kahn's case and a related case, will make it more difficult to convict physicians "in connection with pill mill arrangements by requiring prosecutors to prove that doctors knew they were acting in an unauthorized manner," the report said.
The Supreme Court in June ruled in favor of Dr. Kahn and another physician, who had appealed their convictions, sending the case back to the appeals court.