CLEARFIELD – A former area physician charged with forging prescriptions was placed into a special program Monday.
John Sylvester O’Shea, 69, of Washington, D.C. was charged by the attorney general’s office with procuring for self/other drug by fraud, identity theft and forgery, all misdemeanors, in July after a tip from a DuBois pharmacist led to an investigation into his prescriptions.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, O’Shea was receiving prescriptions for Modafinil and Armodafinil from doctors in DuBois, Washington, D.C., and Raleigh, N.C., as well as others.
The drugs are used to treat narcolepsy or shift work sleep disorder and are not to be taken together.
It was discovered that the DuBois doctor was a co-worker of O’Shea’s. Both men are traveling doctors who were only working at Penn Highlands DuBois for 10 days each month.
When an agent of the AG’s office spoke with the other doctor, he acknowledged the signature on four of the prescriptions was his.
He did recall signing one or two prescriptions for O’Shea, who had told him he needed the drugs for his psoriasis and that it was not a controlled drug.
Although both drugs are non-controlled substances in Pennsylvania, they are a listed federally as Schedule IV drugs, according to the complaint.
Later the other doctor contacted the agent again and said he recalled only one prescription for O’Shea and that was over a year ago. He said he could not understand how his signature was on the other prescriptions.
In his interview with police, O’Shea explained he was taking the drugs because of his shift work. He stated he knew the maximum dosage for the drugs was 200 mg for the Modafinil and 250 mg for the Armodafinil per day.
O’Shea admitted he was taking approximately 800 mg per day or three to four pills per shift since he had built up a tolerance to the drugs.
He reportedly admitted he was “doctor shopping” and the other doctors did not know about his other prescriptions. He said his need for the drug “got out of hand.”
On Monday President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman placed O’Shea into the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program, which is for first-time offenders. He must serve two years ARD probation and was ordered to complete drug and alcohol counseling.
He will not be able to prescribe any drugs for this time period and he is not to be practicing medicine for one year.
O’Shea’s attorney noted that O’Shea’s medical license has been suspended and he is on a drug monitoring program already in his home area.