Pubdate: Tue, 17 Feb 2004
Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Copyright: 2004 Sun Publishing Co.
Author: Kenneth A. Gailliard
Note: apparent 150 word limit on LTEs
Note: One doctor, Benjamin Moore, committed suicide.
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


Five Doctors Guilty Of Illegal Activities At Pain Center

Five doctors from the former Comprehensive Care and Pain Management
Center will be sentenced today in federal court in Florence, nearly
three years after the clinic closed and its doctors were charged with
illegally distributing narcotics, including the painkiller OxyContin.

Drs. Michael Jackson, Ricardo Alerre, Deborah Bordeaux, Deborah
Sutherland and Thomas Devlin

are among eight doctors named in a 93-count indictment alleging
illegal activities at the clinic between 1997 and 2001.

At trial last year for Alerre, Bordeaux and Jackson, authorities said
the clinic's practices attracted clients from as far as Lancaster.

Since the clinic closed, OxyContin arrests have declined slightly,
Myrtle Beach police said, but it's still a problem.

Pharmacy break-ins and cases of patients shopping for doctors -
looking for ones willing to prescribe the drug - also have been down,
said Myrtle Beach police narcotics Officer Amy Prock.

"Doctor shopping was really prevalent down here before," Prock

Area pharmacists also said they have noticed a slight decline in the
number of prescriptions for the drug since the clinic closed.

OxyContin is a popular painkiller prescribed by several doctors, said
Jon Howell, a pharmacist at Northside Pharmacy in Myrtle Beach.

"Many pharmacists are trying to control the use of it better than they
were," he said.

Howell said he no longer stocks high doses of OxyContin in an attempt
to control misuse.

Under the leadership of its owner Dr. Michael Woodward, the pain
clinic gained a reputation as a pill mill where drugs such as
OxyContin, Lortab and others were easily prescribed, prosecutors said.

Woodward pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to
distribute oxycodone, the primary ingredient in OxyContin, and health
care fraud. He was sentenced in September to 15 years in prison.

Another doctor, Venkata Pulivarthi, also pleaded guilty and was
sentenced to three years probation.

Jackson, Bordeaux and Alerre, were found guilty of conspiracy to
unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances, conspiracy
to launder money and varied charges of distribution of oxycodone.

Sutherland and Devlin pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

About The Trial

Federal indictment; Included charges against eight doctors and three
employees from the former Myrtle Beach Comprehensive Care and Pain
Management Center.

What was done; Illegal activities, including overprescribing
narcotics, involving hundreds of pain center patients while the
accused were associated with the center from 1997 to 2001.

The charged; All but three of those named in the indictment pleaded
guilty to lesser charges. One doctor, Benjamin Moore, committed suicide.
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