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Brigham City doctor indicted for improper drug distribution

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Aug. 5, 2010 at 5:04 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A federal grand jury returned a 130-count indictment against a Brigham City doctor who's been under investigation for more than a year. The orthopedic surgeon is accused of prescribing large amounts of prescription drugs.

Federal prosecutors wouldn't give us details, but say Dr. Dewey MacKay prescribed pills to one patient who later died as a result.

U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen announced the charges against Dr. Dewey MacKay during a press conference Thursday.
U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen announced the charges against Dr. Dewey MacKay during a press conference Thursday.

The indictment says MacKay prescribed pills without conducting medical exams. It also says new patients received limited or no physical exam to diagnose the cause of the patient's reported pain.

State records show that over the course of four years, MacKay issued 20,000 prescriptions for hydrocodone products -- totaling 1.9 million pills -- and issued 17,000 prescriptions for oxycodone products -- totaling 1.5 million pills.

Between 2005 and 2008, MacKay had the highest number prescriptions for hydrocodone in the state. The pills include OxyContin, methadone, Percocet and Lortab.

"The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is the fastest growing drug problem in our country today," said U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen. "It poses a serious threat to public health. Its tragic consequences are seen in substance abuse treatment centers and hospital emergency rooms throughout the country."

Christensen says the doctor would see and prescribe to as many as 100 to 120 patients in an eight-hour day.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says MacKay's license to prescribe medicine has been revoked.

If convicted, MacKay faces serious penalties. Just the first count involving the patient's death could send him to prison for 20 years.

KSL News talked to MacKay's attorney on the phone Thursday afternoon. He said there's no proof of anything alleged in the indictment and that MacKay will answer the allegations in court.

MacKay will be issued a summons to appear in federal court on Sept. 2.

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Story compiled with contributions from: Sandra Yi and Paul Nelson.

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