COLUMBUS, OH (WOWK) – A doctor from Southeast Ohio has been convicted of illegally prescribing controlled substances and defrauding health care programs by a federal grand jury.
The jury found Roger D. Anderson, 65, of Marietta, guilty 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, according to a press release from the office of United States Attorney David M. DeVillers. The jury announced the verdict yesterday evening, Thursday, March 5, following a trial that began Feb. 24.
Anderson owned and operated Marietta Medical, which was located on Putnam Street in Marietta. According to court documents and trial testimony, between Jan. 2012 and March 2016, Anderson conspired with others to distribute opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone outside the scope of medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
DeVillers says Anderson pre-signed prescriptions for staff who were not legally qualified to give prescriptions to complete and distribute to patients on days he was absent and did not examine them. The press release says the drugs would also be distributed at a kiosk after hours inside the office complex Putnam Commons.
“Anderson ignored blatant red flags that his patients were abusing and diverting the opioids he prescribed,” U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said. “He prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines to a pregnant patient and was banned by pharmacies. This trial is another example that if you act like a drug dealer, we will prosecute you like one.”
Anderson prescribed dangerous 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), DeVillers says.
According to the press release, one patient received four prescriptions issued the same day for 10 Fentanyl patches, 120 Xanax pills, 180 Oxycodone pills and 180 pills of the acetaminophen-hydrocodone mix Norco. The patient already had two other overlapping prescriptions for Fentanyl issued by Anderson.
“This case is a great example of cooperation between Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. “We started this case five or six years ago and it became so cumbersome and complex that without the help of the Federal government the case would not have survived.”
DeVillers says Anderson also conspired to and committed health care fraud, defrauding the Ohio Medicaid and Medicare programs, and caused the submission of claims for controlled substances that were prescribed in violation of Federal law.