Doctor Cleared of Criminal Charges for Opioid Prescribing

In this exclusive interview, Practical Pain Management spoke with Jennifer Bolen, JD, who was hired by Dr. Roggow and her local legal counsel as an expert attorney to handle medical expert issues and jury instructions…

Initially, the case was brought as a federal criminal complaint based on the word, or affidavit, of a local police officer, who was serving on a federal drug task force. That same police officer later presented testimony to a federal grand jury, resulting in the indictment of Dr. Roggow…

The government looks at [medical pain management] as if there’s something wrong when a physician hits a certain quantity (dosage) or hits a certain timeframe of prescribing. [This type of assessment] should be a concern for all physicians.

It’s like a rabbit trail; someone has the government focused on the quantities and chronicity of prescribing and that isn’t really where they should focus. That means everyone’s potentially in trouble if their quantities vary from what some government medical expert might say is right…

The level the government thinks triggers the allegation of drug trafficking is a moving target because it depends on who the government’s medical expert witness is. In reality, there is no ceiling dose on opioid therapy and there is not sufficient literature to identify a common ground for high-dose opioid therapy…

You know you are in trouble, even with a not-guilty verdict, when government representatives tell a jury that all people who use pain medication become addicts, that all our client did was make addicts out of these people. That is exactly what the prosecutor said in the final argument. If this doctor had been convicted, it would have been open season for any caregivers in this area.

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