Late last month, agents with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office served a search warrant at the office of Dr. Harvey Jenkins of Aria Orthopedics in Oklahoma City. Attorney General Scott Pruitt called Dr. Jenkins's business practices "questionable" and accused the physician of prescribing narcotic painkillers without valid medical cause:
"Our office has evidence that shows Jenkins may be using his position as a physician to operate as a ‘pill mill.’ The fact Jenkins abused his title and position as doctor for his own benefit is troubling and undermines those doctors who work each day to protect the health and safety of Oklahomans."Dr. Jenkins denies the allegations and issued a statement saying he was surprised by the accusations against him, saying his primary concern is for his patients who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain, and who will have difficulty in getting their prescriptions filled while his clinic is closed for the investigation. Although the physician denies any wrongdoing and he has not been criminally charged, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBN) has indefinitely suspended his ability to prescribe drugs. The OBN filed an Imminent Danger Order yesterday, which suspends the doctor's OBN registration number, effectively removing his ability to legally prescribe drugs. OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said the agency made its decision based on "evidence [that] shows there is an imminent danger to his patients and the public if he were allowed to continue prescribing." He continued, "In other words, it is an immediate action rather than waiting until a hearing at some future date to suspend his license to prescribe." Jenkins defends his practice, saying that the physicians who prescribe narcotic painkillers are closely scrutinized by the OBN. The Attorney General's Office, however, says the doctor is one of the state's top prescribers of prescription painkillers including oxycodone and hydrocodone. They further say their investigation revealed significant violations of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act and anti-drug diversion policies, including pre-signed prescriptions and "more than seven-hundred loose pills that were unsecured and accessible to the public." The OBN says that Dr. Jenkins has been under investigation since 2012, and disciplinary measures against the doctor date back to 2011, including allegations of prescribing medication to himself, Medicare fraud, controlled substances violations, and allowing unlicensed practitioners to practice on patients without his presence. The allegations against Jenkins are reminiscent of those against Dr. William Valuck, who was called "the number one prescriber in the state" by a DEA agent who testified as a witness at his murder trial. Valuck pleaded guilty to eight counts of second degree murder stemming from the overdose deaths of several of his patients. He accepted the plea deal in exchange for the dismissal of several drug charges against him. The 71-year-old doctor was sentenced to 8 years in prison.