BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A Franklin, Kentucky, physician pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl to charges of the illegal distribution of controlled substances by way of prescribing opiate pain medications outside of the course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medial purpose, announced U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.
According to the plea agreement, Roy D. Reynolds, age 66, was a doctor practicing in Franklin, Kentucky, in Simpson County during the time of the illegal activity. Dr. Reynolds was the treating physician to patients known as J.H. and J.R. at the time of their deaths. According to autopsies, both patients died from pharmaceutical overdoses.
According to information in the plea agreement, J.H. had a history of illegal drug usage and psychiatric issues which were documented in his patient charts. Further, this patient had a KASPER report also suggesting opiate abuse and diversion. Although J.H. made various somatic complaints, Dr. Reynolds never objectively documented a legitimate source of pain. Also, an opiate centric treatment plan was contraindicated because of risk factors inherent with a history of drug abuse.
Nonetheless, Dr. Reynolds admitted to placing J.H. on a regimen of chronic opiate therapy, and did not monitor or enforce patient accountability, (did not perform urine screens or pill counts), and did not attempt to wean J.H. off opiates. Between February 2009 and April 2011, Dr. Reynolds repeatedly prescribed oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and Xanax, a Schedule IV controlled substance, to J.H. outside the course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
On April 3, 2011, J.H. died at age 46 of a pharmaceutical overdose, and an autopsy revealed oxycodone at five (5) times the upper therapeutic concentration. Two days prior to his death, Dr. Reynolds prescribed J.H. 180 oxycodone pills and 90 Xanax pills.
J.R. was Dr. Reynolds’s patient between July 2010 and December 2011. J.R. presented vague complaints of knee, neck and shoulder pain, but MRI’s and physical examinations failed to identify any significant pathologies. A legitimate pain diagnosis was never established, and J.R.’s patient records reflect a history of alcohol abuse, doctor shopping, drug dependency, and non-compliance. Controlled substances were contraindicated, but Dr. Reynolds repeatedly prescribed hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance at the time, and Xanax and clonazepam, Schedule IV controlled substances, outside the course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. On December 30, 2011, J.R. died at age 41 of a pharmaceutical overdose, and an autopsy revealed hydrocodone at thirty (30) times the upper therapeutic concentration.
If convicted at trial, Reynolds could have been sentenced to no more than 30 years in prison, followed by a three year period of supervised release and fined $1.5 million. Reynolds will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers in Bowling Green.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Weiser and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Kentucky State Police.