Physician is sentenced to 41 months in prison for overprescribing addictive painkillers.
Dr. Ajeeb Titus of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has been charged with 21 felony counts of administering a controlled substance by practice; three felony counts of delivering or intending to deliver a controlled substance; and a single felony count of acquiring a controlled substance. He also was charged with five misdemeanors. All charges are related to allegedly prescribing addictive opioid drugs and writing each script even when medically necessary, according to investigators.
“A statewide grand jury has recommended these charges,” announced Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Dr. Titus was trusted by his community to carefully and thoughtfully write prescriptions in his patients’ best interests. Instead, he used his access to prescribe highly addictive medications that are fueling the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania, and for his own gain.”
Titus’s patients sought his care for pain management and addiction treatment, which makes the doctor’s actions particularly egregious. He has been a medical doctor for two decades and came highly rated by those under his care. He had no prior disciplinary action on his record.
“Titus failed to prescribe the medicine in accordance with accepted treatment principles,” Shapiro said, “And failed to keep records on the high volume of controlled substances he prescribed.” One patient, the attorney general added, even “referred to Titus as a known script writer who ruined lives.”
The AG’s office began its investigation after receiving tips that Titus was overprescribing dangerous opioids in 2018. Shapiro and his team worked alongside patients who agreed to act as confidential informants. According to their findings, “from June 2017 to August 2019, Titus wrote prescriptions for 422,969 doses of Schedule II controlled substances, which include drugs like methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl.” Shapiro said, “Titus asked patients what medications they wanted, without even examining them.”
Shapiro added Titus, “prescribed fentanyl patches and morphine to a patient who told him of their plan to sell the prescriptions on the street. Titus then directed the patient to visit him after hours, using a side door. Cutting off the source of these prescription drugs falling into the wrong hands is imperative to tackling this epidemic that steals the lives of 12 Pennsylvanians a day.”
The ‘script writer’ Titus is currently serving a 41-month prison sentence.
In a related case against another Pennsylvania physician, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit recently decided that Dr. Milad Shaker should stay behind bars after hearing his appeal. Shaker prescribed “large quantities of opioids to a female patient who suffered from migraine headaches, then used her ensuing addiction to pursue a years-long sexual relationship with her,” federal investigators reported.
Judge Kent A. Jordan denied the former doctor’s request, citing in his decision previous findings that Shaker and his practice, Shaker Urgent Care, prescribed large amounts of highly addictive opioids to the woman when they were not medically necessary. The judge indicated further, “Shaker used the woman’s addiction to keep her in [a] relationship. He kept over-prescribing drugs for her even after another doctor contacted him and said the medications were no longer necessary. Drug addicted and with a broken marriage, (the woman) eventually left home and ended up living in a crack house.”