Two Arkansas physicians were sentenced in late May to a combined 150 months in federal prison for distributing pain medicines without a prescription.
Cecil. W. Gaby, 71, of Fort Smith, and Robin Ann Cox, 64, of Rogers, were sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Fort Smith on one count each of Distribution of a Controlled Substance without an Effective Prescription, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas announced.
Gaby pleaded guilty in December 2019 to unlawfully dispensing a Schedule II controlled substance namely, oxycodone, to an individual, who subsequently died of an overdose.
thereby causing the death of the individual.
Between January 2016 and July 2018, Gaby was an owner and operator of the Hinderliter Pain Clinic in Barling, Arkansas, and from July 2018 through November 2018, was owner and operator of the Gaby Medical Clinic in Fort Smith, Arkansas. From January 2016 through November 2018, Gaby issued more than 11,000 prescriptions for opioids and/or benzodiazepines.
Gaby prescribed approximately 1,156,044 dosage units of Schedule II controlled substances to 347 patients (3,332 pills per patient over the course of 2 years); 98% of Gaby’s patients were prescribed at least one opioid (hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, etc.); 94% of Gaby’s patients received either multiple narcotics or a combination of narcotics and sedatives; and 27% of Gaby’s patients were age 40 or younger.
Evidence in the case revealed that Gaby issued a large number of prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice. From 2016 through 2018, several of Gaby’s patients died of drug overdose or related causes.
As part of his plea, Gaby admitted that prescriptions he issued directly resulted in the death of one of his patients.
Gaby was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Cox was employed by the Arkansas Medical Clinic (AMC) in Rogers, Arkansas.
Cox and the owner of AMC contacted the DEA by telephone to report that prescriptions from Cox’s previous employment had been fraudulently written and filled. Cox specifically identified a prescription for a patient written and filled on May 17, 2019, and a prescription for a patient dated May 19, 2019 and filled on May 20, 2019.
During the investigation into these prescriptions, the DEA discovered that the prescriptions were for Schedule II opioid medications, and that Cox had written one of the prescriptions while meeting with the patient in the parking lot of a restaurant in Fort Smith.
The prescription was not written in conjunction with an appropriate medical examination and therefore was issued outside the course of a legitimate medical practice.
Cox was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DEA Diversion Little Rock, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS), Arkansas State Medical Board, the Fort Smith Police Department, the Springdale Police Department, and the Rogers Police Department investigated the case.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Gardner prosecuted the case for the United States.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas
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