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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 11, 2013

West Virginia Doctor Charged With Over Prescribing Painkillers


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Doctor allegedly over prescribed narcotics to patients who later overdosed

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA - A Harrison County, West Virginia doctor has been charged with supplying excessive amounts of prescription pain medication to individuals for non- legitimate medical reasons, actions that are believed to be linked to several drug overdose deaths.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II announced that DR. EDITA MILAN was arrested today for the felony offense of “Conspiracy to Distribute Schedule II, III, & IV Controlled Substances.” MILAN is alleged to have supplied large quantities of painkillers to her customers for no legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice. Her motive for the distribution of the drugs is believed to be financial in nature.

MILAN and her practice had been under investigation by the Greater Harrison Drug Task Force for several months when in June of 2013, a neighbor of MILAN in Fairmont, West Virginia was found dead in his home. The neighbor also happened to be a patient of MILAN’S, and it is alleged in the criminal complaint that he had been prescribed large quantities of painkillers by MILAN prior to his death. The complaint further states that MILAN misrepresented the cause of the death to the county medical examiner, and that she conspired to throw away many of the deceased’s pill bottles after his death in order to conceal her connection to the decedent.

Although the deceased subject had not been in to see MILAN for three months prior to his death, the complaint alleges that MILAN continued to prescribe oxycodone and morphine to him. This method of prescribing is against legitimate medical practice since a patient is supposed to physically visit a doctor’s office in order for prescriptions of this type to be filled.

According to the complaint, a review of State Health Department records was conducted by agents and it showed that between 2010 and 2011 three other patients of MILAN died as a result of overdoses from pharmaceuticals that she had prescribed.

MILAN obtained authorization in 2009 to open a narcotic treatment program, sometimes referred to as a “pain clinic”, and she was permitted to treat up to 30 patients with narcotics. The investigation indicates that MILAN was treating more than twice as many patients with narcotics than she had the authority to treat. MILAN is also believed to have prescribed pills to individuals “off the books”, or to people who were never actually her patients. A review of State Board of Pharmacy data revealed that MILAN had at least 37 patients who are known by law enforcement to have involvement in the illegal diversion of prescription pills.

“As this case demonstrates, federal, state and local law enforcement continue to stand united to tackle the drug problem in North Central West Virginia and throughout the state,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “Together, we are making a positive difference as we aggressively pursue doctors who seek to hide behind a medical license in order to traffic in highly addictive and sometimes deadly substances.”

The investigation initially focused upon an employee of MILAN’S practice who was selling painkillers in the parking lot of the office to an undercover police officer. That employee was charged in federal court and convicted, and then was replaced at the medical practice by her sister, who had a prior felony drug conviction herself. Agents then received information from a Harrison County pharmacist that caused the focus of the case to turn to the unusually large number of prescriptions being written by MILAN to her employees and to their families. Surveillance conducted by task force officers confirmed these allegations.

Federal search warrants were served at MILAN’s home in Fairmont and her office in Bridgeport late last month. Warrants were also served at the home of MILAN’s deceased patient and upon the home of one of MILAN’s employees. On the day that the warrants were served MILAN agreed to voluntarily surrender her DEA registration number and as such she can no longer prescribe controlled substances.

As a result of the execution of the search warrant at MILAN’s office, hundreds of patient files were seized by investigators. Patients who are seeking copies of their medical files should make a request in writing by regular mail to the United States Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 591, Wheeling, West Virginia 26003. Patients should include their full name, date of birth, address, and phone number when making the request, and they will be contacted in order to arrange to obtain their records. Patients will need to provide photo identification in order to receive their records.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr. The case was investigated by the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of officers and agents from the Bridgeport Police Department, the Clarksburg Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the West Virginia State Police, along with support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals
Service.

Updated January 7, 2015