Physician Sentenced to 5 Years for Trying to Help a Patient, AAPS States

TUCSON, Ariz., Sept. 7, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AAPS issues the following announcement:

"A casualty in the "War on Drugs" that has become a war on physicians, 52-year-old family physician John Anthony Gianoli, III, has been sentenced to 5 years (60 months) in federal prison for writing prescriptions for a controlled pain medication, although his sole intention was to help a patient.

Dr. Gianoli ran a small medical office in Florida. It was not a "pill mill" by any stretch of the imagination. He frequently used alternate methods such as yoga to treat pain, and was often able to wean patients off addicting medicines—as he did in the case of the undercover agent who was sent by the government to entrap him.

Agents pose as patients, with fake medical records and stories that could fool even the most skeptical physician.

At trial the prosecution relied on tape recordings of only some of the visits between its fake patient and Dr. Gianoli. Even though the undercover agent had a recording device for his initial encounter with Dr. Gianoli, no recording for that all-important visit was ever made. It was alleged that no physical examination was performed, although one was documented in the medical record for that visit.

The jury acquitted Dr. Gianoli on two counts of illegally prescribing medication, and convicted him on only one of five counts. But the Court handed down the draconian 5-year sentence anyway, and the prosecutor asked for much more.

If there were a real concern about prescriptions written by Dr. Gianoli or any other physician, then the DEA can easily revoke his authority to prescribe controlled substances, without wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money on sting operations, trials, and lengthy sentences of good physicians who serve the public.

"Abusive prosecutions like this one send the message that it is too dangerous to prescribe oxycodone or other controlled drugs," states Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). "Any patient, however compelling his story, could turn out to be a federal plant."

Dr. Gianoli loses his freedom, his ability to practice his vocation, his livelihood, his life savings, and his reputation. His patients lose a caring physician, and patients throughout the country may be sentenced to a lifetime of unremitting though treatable pain because physicians fear to prescribe for them. Aggressive targeting of physicians has had no discernible impact on drug abuse.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, ( which was founded in 1943 to defend the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship."



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