Doctor wrote pill prescriptions for patients without treating them

The doctor is convicted of having written prescriptions without seeing patients.


According to court documents, Dr. Timothy F. Shawl, 62, of Garnet Valley, Pa., Wrote prescriptions for controlled substances totaling more than 20,000 oxycodone tablets for patients without seeing them. One of the patients died in his care because the doctor chose to prescribe without a medical examination. As part of his guilty plea, Shawl also admitted that patients typically take an envelope with their prescription to the receptionist in his office.

In fact, more than four in five doctors said they also prescribed medication to a family member or friend without a physical exam. “Writing a prescription for a relative or friend, even a well-meaning one, often risks circumventing the physician’s responsibility to uphold the standard of care,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO, American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ABIM Foundation. “We have fundamental authority and responsibility. We are licensed and have the authority and ability to write prescriptions. But we have a responsibility to do it in accordance with professional standards. “

“By prescribing controlled substances to patients without any medical supervision, the accused violated his professional and moral obligation to his patients,” said Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. “The Respondent’s conduct had devastating consequences, including on at least one patient who overdosed and died as a result of the Respondent’s prescriptions. The Justice Department is committed to tackling the opioid epidemic and that includes prosecuting those who allow it. “

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

“The accused neglected his sworn responsibility to do no harm and recklessly contributed to the opioid epidemic in the country,” said acting deputy director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s criminal investigations division. “The human consequences in these cases are tragic, and the FBI is dedicated to investigating doctors who prescribe controlled substances without a legitimate medical reason to do so. Rest assured that the FBI will work tirelessly with our partners to bring justice to the victims and those who have tragically lost loved ones to illegal distribution.

“This case underscores the Department of Justice’s commitment to tackling the opioid crisis,” US Attorney Krueger said in late 2019. “Far too many Wisconsinians have seen loved ones suffer from an opioid addiction or worse, worse. , of an overdose. Because the path to addiction often begins with prescription opioids, we are committed to investigating and prosecuting prescribers like Kotsonis who sell drugs behind the facade of medical practice.

In July last year, Susan Moyer, 58, a former co-owner and office manager of the Compassionate Care Clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was also sentenced to one year in prison for illegally distributing oxycodone. According to court records, Moyer and his co-accused, Steven Kotsonis, MD, operated the clinic as a “pill mill, issuing baseless prescriptions for high doses of oxycodone and other opioids in exchange for money.” At least two patients overdosed on oxycodone and died as a result.

Moyer was not a licensed health care professional and had no medical training. Despite this, she wrote prescriptions that Kotsonis would sign without actually seeing the patient. The case is very similar to Shawl’s.

“People have frequently obtained prescriptions from the Compassionate Clinic without having been examined or having had their vital signs (ie height, weight, blood pressure) taken during their visit,” the records indicate. courts. During a visit to the Compassionate Care office, Moyer was recorded by undercover investigators referring to herself as “Oxy Czar”.

Sources:

Pennsylvania doctor pleads guilty to illegally distributing oxycodone to his patients

The risks of informal prescribing and how to avoid them

Federal judge sentences co-owner of “Pill Mill” to prison


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