Ohio Surgeon Sentenced to 40 Months for Overprescribing Pain Pills
March 2021, George Griffin, M.D. of Cincinnati, Ohio, was sentenced to 40 months in prison for illegally distributing controlled substances.
Late last year, Dr. Griffin pled guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances. As part of his sentence, he is required to surrender his medical license and never seek reinstatement of the license.
Dr. Griffin owned and operated Greater Cincinnati Orthopedic Physicians, LLC. As a physician, Dr. Griffin prescribed controlled substances including opioids. He was registered with federal and state authorities to prescribe controlled substances.
Dr. Griffin was initially charged in a 2019 indictment that listed 20 counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled substances. The indictment listed 20 prescriptions dated from 2014 through 2019, each of which constituted a separate count.
Under the law, valid prescriptions for controlled substances must be issued “…for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his professional practice.” Individuals failing to follow that law are subject “to the penalties provided for violations of the provisions of law relating to controlled substances.”
In sentencing documents, the government claimed that Dr. Griffin prescribed “powerful and addictive pain medications to his patients outside the usual course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.” The government also referenced past issues involving Dr. Griffin prescribing “extremely high quantity and dosage of dangerously potent opioid substances.”
Conversely, Dr. Griffin denied the claims that this was a case about a “pill mill” physician. Instead, he claimed that this was a case about a “hard-working, overworked solo practitioner who was doing his best to alleviate the suffering of patients who were struggling with disabling pain during a period when the standards of care for addiction and pain therapy were rapidly changing.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Ohio Attorney General’s Office; Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation; and Ohio Board of Pharmacy.