Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc. has been accused of unlawfully filling fraudulent prescriptions for stimulants, written by a physician working in Harlan ARH’s Emergency Room, for ARH nurses and staff and their family members, without a proper doctor-patient relationship, and failing to make and maintain complete and accurate records of its controlled substances.
In a civil lawsuit filed Monday, the United States has alleged that the Harlan ARH Hospital Pharmacy improperly filled prescriptions for stimulants that were written by a Harlan ARH Emergency Room physician.
An Associated Press article states that the Lexington Herald-Leader reports the lawsuit says Dr. Donald F. Ramsey, who worked in the emergency room at the Harlan ARH hospital, wrote prescriptions for phentermine to hospital employees and their family members, with the prescriptions being filled at the hospital pharmacy. ARH couldn’t be reached for comment.
The lawsuit says Ramsey didn’t do proper examinations before prescribing the drug, which is used to help people lose weight. It says Ramsey wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the drug at least 83 times.
Ramsey indefinitely gave up his license to practice in April 2015.
The United States contends that many of these prescriptions were written for double the standard recommended dose of prescription pills and that, as a result of these improperly filled prescriptions, thousands of stimulant pills were illegally dispensed.
The United States further contends that ARH failed to make and maintain complete and accurate records of its controlled substances at two other pharmacies — Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center Clinic Pharmacy and Middlesboro ARH Pharmacy — which prevents the government from determining whether other controlled substances had been diverted for illegal use.
The United States is seeking civil penalties for ARH’s alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Timothy J. Plancon, special agent in charge of the Detroit Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, jointly announced the filing of the complaint.
A complaint is merely a set of allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trial, the government would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence.