A southeast Ohio doctor was sentenced in federal court on Friday to eight years in prison for illegally prescribing controlled substances and defrauding health care programs, the office of the U.S. District Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio reported.
A federal jury convicted Roger D. Anderson, 66, of Marietta, in last March, according to a press release from the District Attorney’s office.
Anderson was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, eight counts of illegal dispensing of controlled substances and one count of committing health care fraud, the press release said.
Anderson owned and operated Marietta Medical, which was formerly located on Putnam Street in Marietta, according to the release.
According to court documents and trial testimony, between January 2012 and March 2016, Anderson conspired with others to distribute opioids including oxycodone and hydrocodone outside the scope of medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
Anderson reportedly pre-signed prescriptions for staff to complete and distribute to patients in his absence. Prescriptions were given to patients on days that Anderson did not examine them and by staff who were not legally qualified to give prescriptions, according to the District Attorney’s office.
The drugs would be distributed at a kiosk after hours inside the office complex Putnam Commons, the press release said.
Anderson reportedly prescribed combinations of controlled substances, including those known as “Holy Trinity” (an opioid, a benzodiazepine and a muscle relaxant) and “Speedballs” (a stimulant and an opioid).
One patient received four prescriptions issued in the same day for ten Fentanyl patches, 120 Xanax pills, 180 Oxycodone pills and 180 pills of the acetaminophen-hydrocodone mix Norco. On that same date, the patient already had two other overlapping prescriptions for Fentanyl issued by Anderson, the press release said.
Additionally, Anderson reportedly conspired to and committed health care fraud, defrauding the Ohio Medicaid and Medicare programs. Anderson caused the submission of claims for controlled substance that were prescribed in violation of federal law.
“Anderson ignored blatant red flags that his patients were abusing and diverting the opioids he prescribed,” U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said in the press release. “He prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines to a pregnant patient and was banned by pharmacies. Today’s sentence is another reminder that if you act like a drug dealer, we will prosecute you like one.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in the press release that “instead of helping and healing, this doctor fueled drug addictions.”
DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Lamont Pugh III, special agent in charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Keith Martin, special agent in charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Yost; Anthony Groeber, executive director, State Medical Board of Ohio; Steven Schierholt, executive eirector, State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy; Stephanie McCloud, administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation; and Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks announced the sentence imposed Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth F. Affeldt and Senior Litigation Counsel Douglas W. Squires represented the United States in the case.