Saturday, November 9, 2002

Illegal prescribing charged

Doctor accused of giving Percocet too easily

The Associated Press

SOUTH SHORE, Ky. - A grand jury has indicted an eastern Kentucky doctor on 11 felony counts of illegally prescribing addictive drugs.

Dr. Rodolfo Santos, of South Shore, prescribed Percocet "in a manner not authorized by law" on 11 occasions between May 2001 and last April, a Greenup County grand jury alleged in the indictment issued Wednesday. He already was facing seven charges from a grand jury indictment in June.

The new indictment charges that Dr. Santos unlawfully prescribed the narcotic painkiller for a patient almost monthly.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Dr. Santos allegedly prescribed the patient 1,980 10-milligram tablets of Percocet or a generic equivalent - 180 tablets a month. The agency alleges that Dr. Santos wrote the prescriptions without examining the patient, who didn't even go to Dr. Santos' office. The patient is cooperating and has not been charged.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Dr. Santos, but he had not been picked up as of Friday, according to the Greenup County Jail.

The 67-year-old doctor and four other physicians have been indicted on state or federal charges that they illegally prescribed painkillers and other medications at a clinic owned by Dr. David Procter.

Authorities claim the clinic was a major source of illegal prescription drugs starting in 1996, drawing thousands of addicts from Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan.

At least nine patients died of overdoses, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Greenup County coroner.

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