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Ellen Klepac
Ellen Klepac
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Prescription Drugs Save Lives but also Cause Deaths

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A 67-year-old doctor’s medical license was suspended by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure last month, according to the courier-journal.com. Fifteen of his patients died in the past three years from prescription drug overdoses.

“(Shearer’s) failure to comply with acceptable and prevailing practices in the treatment and monitoring of patients prescribed controlled substances, and (Shearer’s) fraudulent and unethical behavior, demonstrates that (Shearer) has not exhibited the ability to practice medicine safely,” the medical board’s emergency order of suspension stated.

The board began investigating Shearer last November when it learned that he was one of Kentucky’s top prescribers of OxyCodone, a dangerous and addictive narcotic. A medical board consultant discovered that Shearer had given prescriptions to patients but failed to follow up with them when drug tests revealed they were already taking narcotics in addition to Shearer’s prescriptions.

The consultant also found that Shearer did not verify his patients’ prescription drug history on KASPER, the state attorney general’s system for tracking prescription medication, before writing prescriptions. Shearer allegedly claimed his medical staff failed to run the KASPER reports and did not inform him of patients’ drug test results.

The FBI opened a criminal investigation in April in light of the 15 deaths of patients ages 30 to 59. After raiding his office, they found hundreds of blank, pre-signed prescriptions. The FBI investigation is still ongoing; however, the medical board’s decision to suspend Shearer’s license was not involved.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has suspended several doctors’ practices recently after taking flak for being too lenient with doctors known to abuse the prescription of drugs.