Doctor had revolving door for opioids

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Anchorage Dr. Michael Don Robertson pleaded guilty on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason to a single count of conspiracy to commit controlled substance fraud, and one count of health care fraud.

Robertson, who practiced psychiatry before having his Alaska license revoked last year, distributed controlled substances “outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.”

Between May 2015 and  March 2018, Robertson issued 465 prescriptions of meperidine, a highly addictive narcotic also known as Demerol, to 30 different recipients, totaling 32,109 pills. According to court documents, the doctor knew the recipients did not truly need the drug for any legitimate medical purpose.

Robertson issued the prescriptions as part of a conspiracy: Recipients filled the prescriptions and gave the drug back to Robertson, who then gave them prescriptions for other controlled substances, including fentanyl and oxycodone.

Demerol, is a Schedule II controlled substance, and is an opioid that is as addictive as drug such as morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone.

The charges also included fraud against Medicaid for some 790 controlled substance prescriptions.

“The diversion of prescription drugs is a significant cause of the opioid crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder.  “It is especially disappointing when the pills are diverted from appropriate medical use by physicians – those we trust to protect the health of the public.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our partners in the DEA, will do our job to protect the public by investigating and prosecuting all violators.”

Robertson was a graduate of the Kansas City University of Medicine Bioscience College Of Osteopathic Medicine and had practiced for over 35 years. His specialty was child & adolescent psychiatry.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25, 2019, in Anchorage. Robertson faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both, on the charges. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of Robertson.

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