Medford podiatrist pleads guilty to prescription fraud
A Medford foot doctor admitted Tuesday to writing false prescriptions for opiates in an effort to feed his own addiction.
Patrick Theodore Code, 60, faces penalties that could include jail time or a six-figure fine after pleading guilty Tuesday to a single count of obtaining a controlled substance through misrepresentation, fraud, forgery and deception in U.S. District Court in Eugene, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Over nearly three years, Code obtained nearly 3,000 pills from pharmacies (corrected) — most of them opiate painkillers, but some insomnia medications — through prescriptions he wrote in the names of fake patients or real relatives unaware of his addiction, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
From June 2016 to May 2019, Code wrote prescriptions for 2,876 Tramadol 50 mg tablets and 78 Ambien 10 mg tablets, according to the press release. Tramadol and Ambien are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances.
“This case was brought in order to protect the community from the ongoing risk to patients posed by the defendant’s (Code’s) actions,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams stated in the press release.
During the same period as the prescription fraud, Jackson County Circuit Court records show that Ashland police arrested Code on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge in January 2017. The case was dismissed after Code completed a diversion program in April 2018.
Messages by phone and email to the Oregon Medical Board were not immediately returned, but state medical board records show that Code has an active license as a podiatrist.
A phone message to his practice, Rogue Valley Foot & Ankle Clinic at 2655 Siskiyou Blvd., Medford, was not immediately returned.
Code’s medical license was suspended in July of 2019 pending a state medical board investigation, records show. The medical board does not specify details beyond saying it received “credible information regarding (Code) that resulted in the board initiating an investigation.”
On March 5, the board allowed Code to practice as a podiatrist, but not to prescribe controlled substances, records show.
Court records indicate that Code pleaded guilty to the federal drug charge on his first court appearance. Federal prosecutors filed the charge Sept. 21 against Code, and he waived having his case heard by a grand jury in order to plead guilty Tuesday.
Code is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3. The U.S. Attorney’s office says the drug charge carries maximum penalties of up to four years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
Correction: Code wrote prescriptions for thousands of pills over three years, not thousands of prescriptions. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Code wrote prescriptions for 2,876 Tramadol 50 mg tablets and 78 Ambien 10 mg tablets.