Tennessee doctors plead guilty to overprescribing opioids, DOJ says

Two Tennessee doctors pleaded guilty Thursday to distributing high doses of opioids with no medical legitimacy, the Justice Department announced.

Dr. Samuel Mcgaha and Dr. Frank McNiel – both from East Tennessee – each pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

Between 2015 and early 2018, Mcgaha and McNiel prescribed a combined total of 271,938 opioid pills, a DOJ news release said.

Two Tennessee doctors pleaded guilty last week to prescribing opioids to patients that exceeded CDC guidelines. 

Two Tennessee doctors pleaded guilty last week to prescribing opioids to patients that exceeded CDC guidelines.  (iStock, File)

Mcgaha admitted to writing opioid prescriptions that exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. He also prescribed opioids even when his patients tested positive for illegal drugs.

McNiel admitted to writing some opioid prescriptions without evaluating patients and without obtaining medical records that would have warranted the prescriptions.

‘ALL THESE PEOPLE HAD TO DIE BECAUSE MY PROFESSIONAL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND IT’: DR. DREW ON OPIOID CRISIS

Their case was investigated jointly by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

It was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Louis Manzo of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Svolto of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

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Sentencing is scheduled for March 26, 2020, according to the DOJ news release.

Their charges would carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but they're expected to face less time because of their guilty pleas.