Dr. Van Edward Scott, a New Castle Doctor Accused Of Knowingly Prescribing Drugs To Addicts

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dr. Van Edward Scott

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A New Castle doctor has been charged with over prescribing painkillers to patients, 11 of whom are also charged with reselling the drugs on the street. State prosecutors said Dr. Van Edward Scott prescribed 2.19 million doses of painkillers in one year, 60 percent more than any other doctor in the state. The drugs have a street value of $50 million.

But defense attorney Michael Frisk said Scott, 59, isn't doing anything other than prescribing painkillers to patients who have run out of other treatment options.

"First off, bond has been posted and he is practicing medicine as if nothing has happened," Frisk said Friday, a day after Scott was arrested and a judge set his bail at $500,000. "We believe he will be vindicated."

The charges announced Friday stem from grand jury findings that Scott had 509 patients last summer whom he charged $130 a month for treatment. Scott doesn't accept insurance, only cash, checks or money orders, the grand jury said.

Scott spends very little time with his patients and doesn't even take vital signs "or provide any meaningful physical exam during office visits," Attorney General Tom Corbett said in a statement.

The grand jury found patients simply reported their physical condition, then requested either more, different or stronger painkillers, including OxyContin, Roxicodone, methadone, Endocet, fentanyl and Percocet.

Scott prescribed nearly 2.2 million painkiller doses from June 2007 to June 2008, which prompted the investigation. Undercover police and informants then began buying drugs from Scott's patients from July 2008 to July 2009, after which the case went to the grand jury, attorney general's spokeswoman Lauren Bozart said.

An expert examined some of Scott's patient files and determined Scott prescribed drugs even to patients clearly dependent on them, the grand jury said.

"Two million doses have an estimated street value of at least $50 million," Corbett said. "Patients filled the prescriptions for personal use and resold the pills on the streets of Beaver, Lawrence and Mercer counties."

Scott is charged with 21 counts of improperly prescribing drugs and seven counts of prescribing drugs to drug-dependent patients.

Eleven patients face at least one count each of reselling drugs they got from Scott.

Frisk, the defense attorney, said the case isn't about a crime, but a difference of opinion.

"They don't like the amounts he's prescribing and they're trying to squeeze him into statutes to make that a crime," Fritz said. "If they want to do away with pain management or make this illegal, they need to change the statutes."

"He only takes people who have no other options but painkillers," Frisk said. "One patient has four back operations and there's nothing else they can do for him. He can either live with pain for the rest of his life, or he can take pain medication."

Frisk said Scott is licensed to practice medicine in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, where he had been an emergency room physician near Detroit.

Frisk contends the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which licenses doctors to prescribe medicine, has agreed to not take action against Scott until these charges are resolved.

Frisk acknowledged that some of Scott's patients are drug-dependent but, even then, the doctor controls their increasing dosages and doesn't condone drugs being resold.

"We have time and time again spoken with the attorney general's office and told them if they felt any of our patients were doing anything improper we would work with them, and (state prosecutors) have turned their back on that option," Frisk said.

Bozart, the attorney general's spokeswoman, responded by saying, "Dr. Scott will have the opportunity to explain to a jury why he prescribed 60 percent more pain medication than any other doctor in Pennsylvania."

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4 Feedback:

snot said...

think the doc wasnt making any money on these sales besides the 130 a month ? 50 million dollar street value... 2 million pills. the word was out, people were coming from youngstown, beaver falls, etc.. to the good ol doc. hope he gets 50 yrs.

W.W. said...

Im one of Dr.scotts paients and if not for him i would not be alive today ,have a 5 yr old daughter and a girlfriend who lost her leg to ewing sarcoma.All those people who were arressted,that was 1 to 2 yrs ago he shut them off now they want to testify against a dr. who did nothing wrong but help us true people who are in true pain hope you the first commenter dont get a dissabilitating diesease or a broken back like me and the only therapy that helps is pain meds curse you for the next 50 years you cant curse me cause i am already cursed from this day on any pain you get remember Dr. scott or another true pain manegement dr.like him cause you will wish you never said what you did....

Anonymous said...

That comment on the Dr. making money from the pills being sold is just stupid. Dr. Scott has the toughest screening for potential patients that I have ever seen. You must go to a Government Agency to be evaluated to make sure the patients are not addicts, have a background check done to make sure there are no prior drug convictions, and a drug screening done. On top of this, random pill counts were done by the Dr. and patients were sent for random drug tests. The Dr. cannot follow every patient everywhere they go to make sure they are not doing anything wrong. What happened to self accountability?

Anonymous said...

What are the patients going to do now? Some of the people were going to him for 11 years or more.It is inhumane, to cut these people off the pain meds that they have been taking for so long without weaning them down. No other Doctor is going to want to take on any of his patients. There are 500 people that are going to be sick without thier meds....

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