Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
WINCHESTER DOCTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY DISPENSING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES AND SENTENCED TO 70 MONTHS IN PRISON
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Elizabeth Reimers, M.D., 40, of Winchester, Tenn. was sentenced today to 70 months in prison, two years supervised release and a $300 special assessment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga by the Honorable Harry S. Mattice, Jr., United States District Judge. The sentence was the result of a guilty plea, also entered today by Dr. Reimers, to three counts of a federal indictment charging her with knowingly and intentionally dispensing, and causing to be dispensed, quantities of controlled substances to patients outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Each such instance carried a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
United States Attorney Bill Killian said, “I hope that this prosecution helps sound the alarm that we are experiencing a epidemic of prescription pill abuse in East Tennessee. Anyone, including a licensed doctor, who unlawfully distributes these pills will face substantial penalties. Dr. Reimers chose to ignore the oath all physicians take to “do no harm.” Her actions had a devastating effect on several of her patients and the community at large. Our office will continue to target and prosecute those individuals who are responsible for illegally putting these powerful drugs on our streets.”
Dr. Reimers, who had a medical practice in Winchester, Tenn., was brought to the attention of law enforcement by a citizen who reported that she was inappropriately prescribing addictive pain medication to drug-seeking patients without medical justification. She was observed prescribing powerful pain-killers and other addictive substances even after patients had overdosed on those medications, or been treated for addiction to them. Emergency room personnel at the Winchester hospital and the medical examiner had expressed concern to Dr. Reimers regarding her prescriptions. Loved ones of Dr. Reimers’ addicted patients complained to her and asked her to stop prescribing the medications to which they were addicted, only to have her continue to prescribe the same medications. Pharmacy records disclosed an abnormally high rate and amount of prescriptions issued by Dr. Reimers of very addictive pain medications. An undercover operation was conducted in which an agent posing as a drug-seeking patient was able to obtain addictive medications without any appropriate medical examination or justification. The undercover agent was even able to obtain such prescriptions for his fictional “brother” who Dr. Reimers never saw at all, and in whose existence she voiced disbelief.
The indictment and subsequent conviction of Dr. Reimer was the result of a joint investigation conducted of Dr. Reimer’s medical practice in Winchester, Tenn., by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Winchester Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney John MacCoon represented the United States.