Doctors convicted of dispensing OxyContin sentenced to prison

JULY 2006 - Two doctors who prescribed massive quantities of addictive narcotics including OxyContin received lengthy prison terms.

Yesterday, Lawrence County common pleas Judge J. Craig Cox sentenced Dr. Philip G. Wagman, 48, and Dr. Thomas Wilkins, 43, to prison terms in state correctional facilities.

Wagman, a pain doctor, faces 19 to 45 years in prison. Cox ordered him to pay a total of $835,000 in fines and $17,604.71 in court costs.

The judge commented that Wilkins’ prison term was lenient because his actions were not at severe as Wagman, who prescribed the medications.

A chiropractor, Wilkins faces 10 to 30 years in prison and fines of $846,000 plus $17,604 in prosecution costs.

Because they are convicted felons, the doctors were also ordered to provide samples for DNA testing.

The two operated Work-Med and Chiro-Med, which was located at 2017 W. State St., Union Township. According to court records, they illegally prescribed addictive narcotics from 2002 through 2003.

Wilkins would see the patients and refer them to Wagman and another doctor in the clinic. Wagman then provided the patients with the prescriptions, according to trial testimony.

Wilkins’ marginal chiropractic clinic grew from five or six patients per day to 65 to 115 patients after Wagman joined the practice in 2002. Patients, who reportedly sold their prescription medications, lined up before the office opened at 8 a.m. Some returned every other day for prescriptions.

Jeffrey Baxter of the state Attorney General’s Office and District Attorney John Bongivengo agreed that the judge’s sentences were more than fair.

“I’m certainly pleased,” Baxter said. “I think the sentence Judge Cox imposed takes into account the seriousness of the offenses, considering the harm it did to the citizens of this community.”

During sentencing, Baxter told Cox that Wagman and Wilkins “were drug dealers hiding behind their diplomas.” “To abuse a professional duty to your patients like that goes without excuse,” he said after the proceeding. “I’m very satisfied,” Bongivengo said. “When you have doctors essentially acting as drug dealers, I can’t think of anything more detrimental to a community.”

The judge sent a clear message that that type of activity cannot be tolerated, Bongivengo continued.

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