Prescription Drugs

Court Rejects Doctor's Appeal of Pain Pill-Related Conviction

Sentenced to four life terms for overdose deaths of patients

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A federal judicial panel on Thursday rejected appeals by a Chicago doctor sentenced to four life terms on charges stemming from the painkiller overdose deaths of four patients, rebuking him for prescribing narcotics to addicts and others.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled 3-0 against Dr. Paul Volkman, who was convicted in Cincinnati last year on federal charges including unlawful distribution of drugs and related counts stemming from pain-pill operations in Ohio. Prosecutors said Volkman dispensed more of the powerful painkiller oxycodone in 2003-2005 than any other U.S. physician.

Volkman's appeal challenged the judge's jury instruction, witness testimony on whether his actions had a legitimate medical purpose, the sufficiency of other evidence against him and whether his sentences were reasonable.

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