An Edmond doctor will be issued a letter of reprimand and required to perform 200 hours of community service after he admitted to helping a woman obtain $20,000 in bonuses by writing unnecessary prescriptions for the anti-inflammatory drug Zipsor.
Dr. Gary Dickinson and an attorney appeared Thursday before the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, along with several other medical professionals facing possible disciplinary action.
According to a complaint filed by the medical board, Dickinson began writing prescriptions for Zipsor to a pharmaceutical sales representative named Tara Linville in February 2010.
Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, the company that sold Zipsor at the time, paid a $30 bonus each time a prescription for the drug was filled at a pharmacy in Linville's sales territory, board documents show.
A medical board attorney wrote in the complaint that Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals would pay the $30 bonus regardless of the size of the prescription.
At first, Dickinson worked only with Linville and her husband, but he would end up writing prescriptions to various friends and family members of the couple.
Records show Dickinson would write his prescriptions for just one dose, but he would authorize up to 12 refills.
In March 2010, Dickinson wrote 17 prescriptions to various family members of Linville. Each one of them included an authorization for 12 refills.
Dickinson would continue writing the prescriptions for Linville's friends and family until August 2010. That month, the doctor wrote 16 single-dose prescriptions “with unlimited refills each.”
Board member Chuck Skillings said cases such as Dickinson's serve to erode the public's trust in the medical profession.
When it was announced that Dickinson would receive community service and a written reprimand for his actions, Skillings commented that the doctor “got off light.”
“I hope you understand today how lucky you are,” he said. “You sent a really bad message about our profession.”
Dickinson, who appeared along with his attorney, apologized to the medical board for his actions, saying he'd never been in trouble during a 30-year medical career.
He said he agreed to help Linville, who was acquainted with his son, strictly “as a favor to her.”
“I didn't consider it an act of fraud at the time,” the doctor said. “She had financial problems ... she had a child that was ill ... it went beyond what my intent had been.”
Dickinson told the board that representatives from Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals called him in October 2010 and asked him about the prescriptions he'd written to Linville and her family and friends. He said the company was suspicious because of the small size of the prescriptions and the large number of refills.
“I did cooperate with them,” Dickinson said, adding that Linville was laid off shortly after the scheme was exposed.
It also was announced during the hearing that Linville is responsible for filing the complaint against Dickinson with the medical board.
No charges yet
Neither the doctor nor Linville have been charged with a crime in connection with the Zipsor scheme.
“How is this not a felony?” Skillings said during the hearing. “I don't understand that.”
For his part, Dickinson said he is currently not practicing medicine and that he resigned his position at an Edmond hospital in mid-January. He also said he never profited by writing the prescriptions for Linville.
“It was a monumental mistake on my part,” the doctor said.