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ST. MARYS — An Elk County podiatrist has been charged with several felonies after he was accused of overprescribing opioid-based medications to patients for over a year.

David Gregory Sanderson, 59, of St. Marys, is charged with 15 felony counts of “Admin Etc Of Cont Subst By Pract” — the administration, dispensing, delivery, gift or prescription of any controlled substance by any practitioner or professional assistant under the practitioner’s direction and supervision, unless done in good faith, within the scope of the patient relationship or in accordance with treatment principals — according to a criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General at Magisterial District Judge Mark Jacob’s office July 21.

A description in the criminal complaint accuses Sanderson of committing 15 offenses with 15 different patients from Jan. 1, 2019 to April 3, 2020.

According to the Forty-Sixth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, an investigation was conducted into the treatment and prescribing practices of Sanderson, a doctor of podiatric medicine with a practice in St. Marys, Elk County. It was learned that between Jan. 1, 2019 and April 3, 2020, Sanderson allegedly prescribed controlled substances, namely opioid-based pain medications, that were not prescribed in accordance with the treatment principals accepted by a “responsible segment of the podiatric medical community,” the report says. On some occasions, prescriptions were reportedly written for the treatment of conditions unrelated to podiatry.

{span style=”font-size: 12px;”}During the investigation, a search warrant for 16 patient files, to whom Sanderson had allegedly prescribed controlled medications above 50 morphine milligram {/span}equivalents{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} (MME) per day, was executed at Sanderson’s Chestnut Street Office in St. Marys, the report says. Sanderson said he knew he was required to check the {/span}Prescription{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) system before issuing an opioid prescription, but he was not always checking it as he should, according to the grand jury report. {/span}

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{span style=”font-size: 12px;”}When asked if he prescribed in excess of 50 MME per day, Sanderson reportedly said, “Maybe a little.” When asked again, he hung his head and then said, “Look, I {/span}have{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} done a bad thing here,” according to the report.{/span}

{span style=”font-size: 12px;”}Later, Sanderson allegedly admitted that he understood his patients were addicted to the medication he was prescribing. When asked if his {/span}prescription{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} writing became excessive, he {/span}reportedly{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} said, “Yes, it may have gotten out of control.”{/span}

{span style=”font-size: 12px;”}The seized patient files showed that with the {/span}exception{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} of a few patients, Sanderson allegedly rarely {/span}checked{span style=”font-size: 12px;”} the PDMP before issuing most opioid prescriptions, and did not conduct urine screens or pill counts. {/span}

{span style=”font-size: 12px;”}Sanderson’s preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 3 at Jacob’s office in St. Marys. Bail was set at $100,000. {/span}

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