Search warrant alleges doc overprescribed narcotics
By Billy Davis
Eight months before authorities served a search warrant at the Batesville office of Dr. Robert Corkern, reports were trickling in to Mississippi’s State Medical Licensure Board that the physician had become popular with known drug seekers.
Authorities searched Corkern’s office Monday, March 23, taking away 13 patient files, an inventory log of Class II narcotics, and other items, according to the search warrant.
A copy of the search warrant was filed last week in the Panola County Circuit Clerk’s office. The five-page warrant is public record and a copy of the warrant was obtained by The Panolian.
Corkern, responding to the search of his office, has told The Panolian that patients were selling the pills, and “I did not know that.”
A week before the authorities searched the office, Corkern said he sent certified letters to inform about 30 patients that he would no longer prescribe narcotics and controlled substances, he also said.
Corkern also said he voluntarily surrendered his license to prescribe narcotics while the investigation was under way.
The search warrant was sought by Mickey Boyette, an investigator with the licensure board.
Boyette led the search of Corkern’s office, where he was assisted by agents with the Panola County Narcotics Task Force, Batesville police officers, and agents with the Miss. Bureau of Narcotics.
In the search warrant, Boyette states that the licensure board received its first complaint related to Corkern from the Grenada County Drug Task Force in August 2008.
“Individuals known by said agency as drug seekers and/or distributors” were obtaining prescriptions for controlled substances from Corkern, the warrant states.
In the next paragraph, Boyette states that the licensure board fielded a complaint in October 2008 from a Batesville pharmacist who complained that Corkern’s patients were “paying cash for early refills” of Watson brand Lortabs.
Corkern was also writing prescriptions for Methadone, a fact that the physician confirmed last week.
The Panola County Narcotics Task Force also contacted the licensure board that same month, alleging that Corkern was “overprescribing” Schedule II drugs.
A second pharmacist, this one from Grenada, contacted the licensure board in December 2008 and also complained.
After fielding those complaints, Boyette performed a “patient profile analysis” in the Batesville area, which allows him to study the number of controlled substances prescribed by Corkern.
In Mississippi, pharmacists submit a report each month to the Miss. Board of Pharmacy, indicating the controlled substances that had been dispensed to patients the previous month.
After viewing the patient profiles, Boyette alleged that Corkern “prescribed narcotic drugs and other drugs having addiction-forming and addiction-sustaining liability otherwise than in the course of legitimate professional practice,” according to the warrant.
Boyette then cites two patients, labeled in the warrant as patient No. 11 and patient No. 12 to protect their privacy, who are alleged to have returned to the doctor’s office for more pills before their supply should have been exhausted.
Patient No. 11, who was prescribed 40 Lortab for 20 days, returned three days later and was given a new prescription by Corkern.
Patient No. 12, given a 30-day supply of Adderall, was given a new prescription 12 days later.
After citing the fielded complaints, the patient profile analysis, and two examples of alleged abuse, Boyette then alleges that Corkern has violated state law.
A spokesman for the circuit clerk’s office said Monday that Boyette hand-delivered the search warrant last Friday and requested that it be filed as a civil case.
If the State Medical Licensure Board reviews Corkern’s case, that review would not take place before the board convenes May 21, Dr. H. Vann Craig, executive director of the licensure board, said last week.