A Philipsburg physician assistant has been arrested for allegedly writing prescriptions in the wrong name or for people who weren't patients of her clinic and under other illegal circumstances. She and another person were arrested. Interestingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated for a full year after receiving a complaint about the woman.
The 41-year-old woman is accused of writing oxycodone prescriptions for a now-60-year-old man who wanted them written in his wife's name. Initially, the woman denied his request but later, she allegedly wrote dozens of prescriptions in his wife's and wife's cousin's names without their knowledge. In return, the physician assistant supposedly received $1,500.
An anonymous complaint and a court-ordered review from last January allegedly revealed that the physician assistant had also written two prescriptions after her DEA registration expired.
Two co-workers at Caring Healthcare Network in Philipsburg made statements to the investigators. One allegedly said that the woman had written prescriptions for people who weren't patients. The second allegedly admitted having received prescriptions for Xanax and Ambien despite not being a patient.
Another person apparently told investigators that the woman had provided oxycodone and fentanyl prescriptions from the women, even at times when she was not employed by Caring Healthcare Network.
Moreover, a friend allegedly admitted receiving Percocet and oxycodone prescriptions for his back pain from the woman.
The physician assistant and the 60-year-old patient have been charged with conspiracy to acquire controlled substances and conspiracy to administer a controlled substance by a practitioner, both felonies. The woman has also been charged with three counts of felony administration of a controlled substance, also a felony. The patient has been charged with one count of that offense.
The physician assistant's bail was set at $25,000 unsecured, while the patient's bail was set at $50,000. Both were able to meet bail and were released from custody.
Doctors and others with prescribing authority put their licenses and futures at risk when they use that authority to help people acquire medicine outside the standard channels.
What is crucial to understand is that the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies have a tremendous amount of time and resources to spend on any given case. An anonymous tip -- one that you would not be notified of -- could result in an extensive, long-term investigation in which no stone is left unturned.
Medical professionals who are accused of illegally prescribing drugs should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as they become aware of an investigation or any allegations against them. Do not wait until charges are officially brought -- a defense attorney may be able to help the most while the investigation is still ongoing.