An Eagle, Idaho physician who was forced to stop practicing in the summer has agreed to plead guilty to three federal drug charges. However, he changed his mind after two weeks and now is saying he is innocent.
After that, federal prosecutors returned to the federal grand jury with 95 more drug charge allegations that the doctor, Michael Minas, distributed oxycodone to his patients without a medical reason. The grand jury then indicted him on those, plus the 17 that were in the indictment in the summer.
These new federal drug charges are related to prescriptions that Minas wrote for 10 of his patients. The prescriptions ranged from 28-420 pills each. The first 17 drug charges were due to prescriptions that were given to several undercover police officers.
Minas was supposed to stand trial for his initial charges later this month, but that is probably going to be pushed back because of the new drug charges.
Each federal drug charge of distributing an illegal drug is punishable by 20 years in prison, with a maximum fine of $1 million.
In 112 instances, federal prosecutors argue that Minas failed to follow accepted practices for dispensing prescription drugs. The new indictment also states that he gave out pills without any patient evaluation or plan of treatment. The charges state that he started several patients on high doses and boosted the dosage without any legitimate reason. The document also states that minimal consideration was given to medical alternatives, or discussion of any risk that patients could become addicted to the drugs.
Many of the charges noted that Minas said on the prescription that it was ok to refill the doses early as well. In some cases, the prescription stated that the MD was aware that it was a high dose.
Minas was arrested in June and was freed pending the upcoming trial. He was prohibited from writing prescriptions or continuing to practice medicine, other than for transferring patient records. He also had to give up his prescription pads.
About Federal Drug Charges
A drug is considered illegal or legal depending upon how it is used and what it is used for. For example, amphetamines are often used to treat ADD, and barbiturates may be used to help with anxiety and depression. But if the doctor gives them out without any valid medical reason, it is a crime. This can be a real danger to society, and that is why the penalties for this type of behavior are very harsh.
Federal and state laws vary a great deal on drug charges. State drug charges are can often be more lenient than federal charges. But whether you are facing federal or state drug charges, a doctor handing out prescriptions in appropriately is a very serious charge, and you will do long years in prison in any case.