Physician Assistant Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Charge For Conspiring To Distribute And Dispense Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Methadone, And Alprazaolam At A Pain Management Practice With Offices In Towson And Owings Mills
Defendant Knew Many Patients Lacked Legitimate Medical Need for Prescriptions, and Engaged in Sexual Contact with Patients Attempting to Get Prescriptions
Baltimore, Maryland – William Soyke, age 66, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, and alprazolam outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Opioid overdoses are killing thousands of Marylanders each year, and opioid addiction is fueled by health care providers who prescribe drugs for people without a legitimate medical need,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Doctors and other medical professionals who irresponsibly write opioid prescriptions are acting like street-corner drug pushers. State and federal authorities are continuing to look at ways to shut down ‘pain clinics’ that are really just fronts for criminals who divert pharmaceutical drugs and hook a new generation of addicts. We are determined to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths here in Maryland.”
According to his plea agreement, from 2011 until the business closed in February 2018, Soyke served as a physician assistant (PA) at Rosen Hoffberg Rehabilitation and Pain Management, P.A. During his tenure, Soyke was able to observe and treat patients of both Dr. Norman Rosen and Dr. Howard Hoffberg, who had hired him and who usually worked at the Towson and Owings Mills offices, respectively.
According to the plea agreement, each new Rosen Hoffberg patient was initially seen by Dr. Rosen or Dr. Hoffberg, who determined the patient’s treatment plan and medication levels. Soyke would then see the patients for follow-up visits. As a PA, Soyke had privileges to prescribe controlled substance medications but was required to operate under a delegation agreement between himself and the Rosen Hoffberg owners.
Soyke admitted that he believed that Drs. Rosen and Hoffberg prescribed excessive levels of opioids. According to the plea agreement, both doctors overruled any attempts by Soyke to lower patients’ dosages. Further, if another health care provider within the practice declined to treat a patient due to the patient’s aberrant behavior (such as failing a drug screening test for illicit drugs or selling their prescriptions), Drs. Rosen and Hoffberg would take over that patient’s care.
Soyke admitted that he knew that many of the patients presenting to Rosen Hoffberg did not have a legitimate medical need for the oxycodone, fentanyl, alprazolam, and methadone they were being prescribed. Nevertheless, Soyke issued prescriptions for these drugs to patients without a legitimate medical need and outside the bounds of acceptable medical practice. Soyke also admitted that in several instances he engaged in sexual, physical contact with female patients who were attempting to get prescriptions. Although the female patients complained to Dr. Rosen and Dr. Hoffberg about Soyke’s behavior, the doctors did not fire Soyke because Soyke saw the largest number of patients at the practice and generated significant revenue for Rosen Hoffberg.
Soyke faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for October 16, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, the DEA, and HHS-OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason D. Medinger and Derek E. Hines, who are prosecuting the case.
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