Bluefield Doctor Sentenced to Federal Prison on Misbranding Charge
ABINGDON, Va. – A family medicine physician in Bluefield, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to one month in prison on a charge of misbranding Schedule II controlled substances to three individuals, two of whom his office staff called “back door patients.”
According to court documents, between December 2014 and January 2016, Phillip Peterson, 64, was a family medicine physician at Bluefield Family Medicine in Bluefield, Va. During this time, Peterson saw several patients who did not check in with the receptionist but rather entered through a side door. Office staff called these patients “back door patients.” These patients came through the side door to pick up Schedule II controlled substances prescriptions, which they had received from Peterson. These “back door patients” were not actually examined by Dr. Peterson each time they picked up prescriptions and did not pay for office visits. Evidence showed that each of the prescriptions listed for the “back door patients” was issued outside the usual course of professional practice.
Dr. Peterson also had one patient who brought lists of prescriptions to the front desk of Bluefield Family Medicine for the receptionist to give to Dr. Peterson or his nurse. Dr. Peterson authorized those prescriptions, including prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances, on occasion without the patient actually being seen or evaluated by Dr. Peterson. Evidence showed these prescriptions were issued outside the usual course of professional practice.
Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division, and Daniel P. Bubar, Acting U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Virginia, made the announcement. The investigation of the case was conducted by DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad.