Doctors take an oath to render competent care to their patients and “to do no harm.” Some physicians, however, can be overcome by a zeal to help their patients, and this zeal may lead to allegations that they violated state and federal drug statutes.
A physician in Arlington was recently indicted for selling excessive quantities of oxycodone to her patients, even though she generally received positive reviews from patients.
According to a press release describing the alleged crimes, the physician prescribed “vast quantities” of oxycodone far in excess of the ordinary standards of care. One patient is alleged to have received a prescription for 360 oxycodone 30 mg. tablets per month. Another patient received a prescription for oxycodone medication to treat “long-term pain” while she was performing manual labor at the doctor’s home.
A physician rating website gave the doctor generally positive ratings on her treatment of patients.
The indictment stated that the physician distributed tens of thousands of oxycodone pills for almost a decade for no acceptable or legitimate medical reason.
Alleged conspiracy with office manager
The indictment further alleged that the doctor relied on an office manager to shield the excessive prescriptions from regulatory authorities. The office manager is alleged to have used an alias to describe the source of the illegal prescriptions.
The indictment accuses the doctor of prescribing approximately 50,000 oxycodone pills in a single decade.
The indictment further alleges that the physician was twice investigated by the Virginia Department of Health Professions in 2015 and 2021. Despite the investigations, the physician did not change her habits of prescribing a large number of oxycodone pills.
The criminal charges
The indictment charges the physician with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and 21 counts of distribution of oxycodone.
If convicted, the doctor could face a maximum penalty of 20 years on each count, although federal judges rarely impose maximum penalties.