Shawnee doctors charged with illegally distributing narcotic drugs to patients

SHAWNEE, Okla. - Ellis Family Practice in Shawnee is closed after two physicians who worked at the facility are accused of running a “pill mill.”

Now, the Oklahoma attorney general has filed formal charges.

“There was evidence that the grand jury heard with regard to the activities of the two doctors with respect to the dispensing of opioids,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said.

A multicounty grand jury issued two indictments for Dr. Jeri Ellis and Dr. Dennis Roberts. Each are charged with unlawful distribution of controlled dangerous substances.

In 2014, Dr. Roberts lost his authority to prescribe controlled drugs and practice pain management for five years after he allegedly over-prescribed medicine. A board expert found Dr. Roberts over-prescribed medication including Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Xanax, Valium and Soma in “quantities that were dangerous to the patients' wellbeing” in five charts reviewed.

In a 2010 complaint to the medical board, a mother alleges the increasing amount of CDS "contributed to the death of her son."

An undercover investigation with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control found Dr. Ellis was prescribing narcotics for Roberts without ever meeting the patient.

“Dr. Ellis, based on the evidence, was assisting inappropriately and illegally prescribing controlled dangerous substances by Dr. Roberts,” Hunter said.

Hunter says this is part of an effort to crack down on the opioid crisis.

“By and large, this is a minority within a minority of doctors, but it's amazing how much damage a small number of people can do,” Hunter said.

Dr. Ellis voluntarily restricted her practice last month.