A former physician from Ridgway has agreed to forgo practicing medicine and to pay a penalty to resolve civil allegations that he unlawfully prescribed hundreds of controlled substances without a medical license.
Loren D. Sherwood did have a medical license with the State of Colorado until it expired in April of 2017, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. For approximately nine months after his license expired, Sherwood continued to issue prescriptions for controlled substances.
According to the Ouray County Plaindealer, Sherwood, with his name spelled as Loran and not Loren, had his license revoked by the Colorado Medicine Board. The article reports that documents came forward showing that Sherwood wrote more than 900 prescriptions without a license. Sherwood operated his practice in Ridgway for several years before closing down, where the Dealer fielded comments from the public about difficulty in filling prescriptions in nearby towns. Sherwood’s wife operated a pharmacy in the same building as his practice and had her pharmacy license suspended.
The U.S. took the stance that the conduct violated the Controlled Substances Act which allows practitioners with valid professional licenses to issue any controlled substances, and that by prescribing the substances after the expiration of his license Sherwood caused “invalid claims for payment to submitted to the federally funded Medicare Program,” a violation of the False Claims Act.
Cooperating with the governmental investigation, Sherwood agreed to pay $21,000 over time, with a possibility of it rising to $40,000 if he fails to make payments. Sherwood agreed not to practice medicine again and not seek another medical license from Colorado or any other state or reinstating his Drug Enforcement Agency registration.
“Ensuring that only licensed medical professionals issue prescriptions for controlled substances is critical to protect patients,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch. “It also helps reduce the illegal supply of opioids and other prescription drugs available for abuse.”
Sherwood was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the DEA’s Denver Field Division, Office of Inspector General and handled by the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Andrea Wang.