Detroit – A Birmingham doctor ran a $17 million pill mill selling prescription opioids for cash to fake patients, federal prosecutors said in an unsealed criminal case Friday.
The indictment accuses Dr. John Kirkpatrick, 83, of running Southfield Medical Services under the guise of a legitimate doctor’s practice, but “the fundamental purpose of the clinic was to dispense illegal prescriptions for opioids.”
The clinic contributed to the nation’s opioid crisis by issuing prescriptions for nearly 575,000 doses of painkillers, including oxycodone and oxymorphone, in a conspiracy that lasted from May 2018 to March 2021, according to the government. Prosecutors said the pills had a conservative market value of $17 million.
Kirkpatrick is scheduled to appear Friday afternoon in federal court in Detroit on charges that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. A criminal defense attorney was not identified in court records early Friday.
He is the latest doctor charged in a years-long crackdown on fraud and drug-related crimes committed by doctors and healthcare professionals in the Detroit metro area. Federal prosecutors have charged more than 440 people in connection with crimes since 2009, one of the largest concentrations of criminal cases nationwide.
Kirkpatrick led the alleged plot out of West 12 Mile clinics and along the Northwestern Highway in Southfield with another man, Roland Williams, who recruited fake patients, prosecutors said.
According to the indictment, Kirkpatrick and Williams demanded that patients pay cash for office visits and were charged various amounts depending on the amount, type and dosage of the prescription opioids.
“After cursory examination or no examination at all, Dr. Kirkpatrick would write several prescriptions, without medical necessity and outside the scope of professional medical practice, to ‘patients’ recruited by Detroiter Roland Williams and others,” according to the indictment. .
Kirkpatrick’s license has been suspended, according to state records.
Williams and other employees created fake medical records, including magnetic resonance imaging reports and prescription documents to make the conspiracy appear legitimate, prosecutors alleged.
Kirkpatrick and Williams are charged with drug conspiracy and seven counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances.
The alleged plot is much smaller than others in recent years.
Dr. Frank Patino, 67, of Woodhaven was convicted last fall in a separate $120 million scheme that prosecutors say involved more than 2.2 million pills, one of the largest schemes in health care fraud in the history of the United States.