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Johnstown physician indicted for illegal narcotics prescriptions

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 5:04 p.m.

A Cambria County physician has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 136 counts of illegally prescribing narcotics at his pain management clinic. He will have a detention hearing in Johnstown.

Glenn Davis, 61, of Johnstown was indicted on Tuesday and arrested on Wednesday, according to federal court records. Prosecutors asked a federal magistrate to jail Davis, citing him as a flight risk because he faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted on the charges.

Last year, Davis sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and two pharmacy chains, accusing them of ruining his medical practice. He alleges the DEA threatened to pull the licenses of pharmacies that filled his patients' prescriptions for narcotics.

Davis' license had not been suspended or revoked since he began practicing medicine, the lawsuit claims.

In May 2013, federal and state agents raided Davis' home and office and seized the records of 372 patients. In November, Davis lost his medical license after a disciplinary hearing before the state Bureau of Occupational and Professional Affairs.

One patient, Walter Andrufski, 57, of Homer City, Indiana County, died of a drug overdose after filling a prescription he allegedly received from Davis, according to testimony at the license revocation hearing.

Another of Davis' patients was arrested after selling OxyContin on the street, according to the hearing testimony.

A third patient allegedly was prescribed fentanyl patches by Davis and ordered to wear six at a time, testimony revealed. Fentanyl is a slow-release narcotic usually prescribed to patients with chronic pain from illnesses such as cancer.

In revoking his license, the state ruled Davis was an “immediate and clear danger to the public health and safety.”

As law enforcement focused on Davis' prescribing practices, DEA agents in 2012 began visiting Johnstown-area pharmacies where his patients had prescriptions filled and ordered pharmacists to stop or face the loss of their licenses.

Law enforcement authorities and drug treatment specialists charge that overprescription of painkillers is a key factor in the increase in heroin addiction and overdose deaths. Federal and state prosecutors have stepped up investigations of physicians who are suspected of illegally prescribing drugs that further patients' addiction or are diverted and sold on the street.

In January, two physicians and a chiropractor in Rostraver were arrested on drug charges for illegally prescribing OxyContin and hydrocodone and receiving $2.3 million in insurance payments.

That same month, a Berks County physician was arrested for giving a patient $45,000 worth of prescriptions in exchange for yard work at his home.

In February, a Lebanon County optometrist and one of his employees were arrested in a scheme to fill OxyContin prescriptions.

Last fall, a Berks County doctor, known as the “Candyman,” was charged with illegally writing 3,100 prescriptions worth $145,000.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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