A Fort Smith doctor and a Rogers doctor both received sentences to federal prison Thursday for prescribing painkillers without proven medical need.
Dr. Cecil W. Gaby, 71, received a 10-year prison sentence after prescribing more than 1.1 million doses of painkillers in two years -- more than 3,000 doses each to the patients receiving them.
Gaby pleaded guilty Dec. 18, 2019, to fraud for prescribing a Schedule II painkiller to an individual without a medical need, "thereby causing the death of the individual," according to the U.S. Justice Department's announcement.
He was sentenced Thursday in Fort Smith by U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III. Gaby's license to practice medicine was suspended in November 2018 and expired April 30, 2019, Arkansas State Medical Board records show.
Schedule II drugs "have a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence," according to the the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's website. These drugs are immediately below the DEA's list of riskiest drugs.
Dr. Robin Ann Cox, 64, of Rogers, received a sentence of two years and six months for issuing two prescriptions without proven medical cause. She pleaded guilty May 6, 2020. Cox prescribed Schedule II restricted opioids without following proper medical practices.
Cox wrote one of the prescriptions while meeting with the patient in the parking lot of a Fort Smith restaurant, according to court documents. Holmes also presided over that sentencing.
"It is my sincere hope that these cases today send a strong message to all of those in our district who would consider operating a 'pill mill' or otherwise seeking to profit from the over-prescribing of opioid drugs and other painkillers," said acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes.
Gaby "prescribed approximately 1,156,044 dosage units of Schedule II controlled substances to 347 patients," amounting to 3,332 pills per patient over the course of two years, according to the Justice Department.
"From January 2016 through November 2018, Gaby issued more than 11,000 prescriptions for opioids and/or benzodiazepines," according to the Justice Department announcement, which was released by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.
The announcement goes on to say "98% of Gaby's patients were prescribed at least one opioid -- hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, etc.; 94% of Gaby's patients received either multiple narcotics or a combination of narcotics and sedatives; and 27% of Gaby's patients were age 40 or younger."
Between January 2016 and July 2018, Gaby was an owner and operator of the Hinderliter Pain Clinic in Barling. He was owner and operator of the Gaby Medical Clinic in Fort Smith from July 2018 through November 2018.