SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors have filed a motion to have several charges dismissed against a Utah physician accused of doling out large quantities of prescription painkillers to hundreds of patients.
On the eve of Dr. Dewey C. MacKay's trial on 129 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers, federal prosecutors filed a motion in federal court to dismiss 40 of those counts. Prosecutors contend that given the weight of the charges still pending against MacKay, the dismissed charges will not significantly affect any sentence he would receive if a jury finds him guilty.
A representative for the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah said prosecutors would not comment on the reason behind the the motion to dismiss charges.
Jury selection commenced Monday morning with opening arguments expected on Wednesday.
Prosecutors contend the Brigham City orthopedic surgeon prescribed painkillers to hundreds of patients, two of whom died. They allege he had issued prescriptions to as many as 120 patients a day without conducting proper medical examinations.
Between January 2005 and October 2009, MacKay issued 20,612 prescriptions for hydrocodone products, totaling more than 1.9 million pills, and 17,000 prescriptions for oxycodone products, totaling more than 1.5 million pills, according to prosecutors.