East Kentucky Physician Uses Facebook To Sell Opioids

F.J. Thomas

Pikeville, KY (WorkersCompensation.com) – A Kentucky pain management physician and his wife have pleaded guilty to unlawfully distributing controlled substances. Dr. Scotty Akers, and his wife and assistant Serissa Akers, both of Pikeville, Ky., agreed to a monetary judgement of $12,275 as part of their plea with sentencing set for November 20th. The couple could face up to 20 years prison time.

Akers went to the West Virginia University School of Medicine, and did his residency at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He was affiliated with the King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky. According to a State complaint filed in May 2018, Akers worked at Pikeville Sports, Spine & Pain Center until it closed in 2016. The complaint was initiated by a workers’ comp third party administrator alleging that Akers had been negligent in prescribing an injured worker opioids. During the course of that complaint, it was discovered that Akers had allegely prescribed 240 units of 10mg Oxycodone and 290 units of 50mg Tramadol over the course of two months to the patient, with continuing monthly prescriptions. Additionally, the question arose whether or not Akers had a physical office to see patients and keep records as he did not produce medical records when they were requested.

When the State pulled the prescription data, Akers had written 1,070 prescriptions for 239 patients for the period reviewed. Seventy-six percent of the prescriptions were for Schedule II narcotics, and 85 percent were for longer than a 5 day period. Additionally, 20 percent of the patients that Akers had written prescriptions for received more than 3 prescriptions.

According to the Eastern Kentucky Department of Justice news release, the couple utilized Facebook messenger to sell prescriptions, after which they would meet in the parking lot to complete the deal. There was no physical exam to justify the prescriptions. A Lexington Herald Leader report states that the couple charged $50 to $75 for the prescriptions.

The case was part of a larger investigation by the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force that resulted in charges in several states against 31 physicians, 7 Pharmacists, 8 Nurse Practitioners, and several other licensed professionals. Another Pikeville physician and pain clinic owner, Dr. Sai Gutti was charged as well.

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