Niagara Gazette

January 29, 2014

Former doctor faces new charges

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — YOUNGSTOWN — A one-time Youngstown doctor is back in trouble with the law. 

Daniel Gillick was arrested Monday and accused of running a scam that saw him sell prescriptions for a controlled substance to a Medicaid recipient. In exchange for the prescriptions, the recipient returned half of the medication that was prescribed for him to Gillick.

The charges were brought by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman as part of an ongoing campaign to combat prescription drug abuse. The case was investigated by members of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force. 

Gillick, 63, was arraigned in Niagara County Court on a single count of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance. He pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance.

He is currently serving a sentence of six months of home detention for scheming with his girlfriend to illegally obtain prescription pills. That case was brought by federal prosecutors.

Gillick also surrendered his license to practice medicine.

In July, Gillick, a former emergency room doctor, admitted that while he was working at Schuyler Hospital in September 2011, his girlfriend came in and faked a medical condition that would allow him to write a prescription for Dilauded, a powerful pain killer.

His guilty plea to fraud and health care fraud charges could have netted him a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. His girlfriend, who was also charged in the federal case, was sentenced to time served from her arrest and has now been released form custody.

At a news conference in Buffalo on Tuesday, Schneiderman said the new charges were the result of parallel state and federal investigations.

“He violated both federal and state law,” the attorney general said. “So first he was arrested and tried federally and now we’re bringing our case.”

The AG charged that between June and September 2010, Gillick, wrote prescriptions for Lortabs for a hydrocodone-dependent Medicaid recipient. That individual then returned half of the Lortab tablets to Gillick each time he filled a prescription.

The recipient told investigators he never received a medical examination or treatment from Gillick. He also admitted to using his Medicaid prescription coverage to fill the prescriptions at local pharmacies.

“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in our state, one that ruins lives, devastates families and tears communities apart. It’s something doctors should be working to help us combat,” Schneiderman said. “(Gillick) was a (prescription drug) addict too, we believe. Now, he’s out of business. My office will continue to make an example of doctors like Gillick and send the message that this won’t be tolerated.”

In August, Schneiderman’s began the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP) program. The goal of I-STOP is to give doctors and pharmacists the necessary data to detect potentially dangerous drug interactions, identify patterns of abuse by patients, doctors and pharmacists.”

“I-STOP attacks over prescribing,” Schneiderman said, “It’s a simple way to deal with the over abuse of prescription drugs.”