LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Dr. Dennis D. Tedford, a 59-year-old family medicine doctor in Brownfield was sentenced today for prescribing drugs without legitimate medical purpose.
Dr. Tedford was sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution following an investigation by the DEA, according to a release from U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Dr. Tedford pleaded guilty in May to distributing or dispensing a Schedule IV controlled substance by a practitioner.
In plea papers, Dr. Tedford admitted that he intentionally dispensed alprazolam, a Schedule IV benzodiazepine, and carisoprodol, a Schedule IV muscle relaxer, to an individual identified as “R.M.” for reasons other than for a legitimate medical purpose and in the usual course of his professional practice.
“Texans expect their doctors to prescribe drugs only when they’re medically necessary,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “This defendant took advantage of his medical license to spread drugs throughout his community. We are grateful to the analysts and investigators who were able to identify his criminal behavior and put a stop to it.”
Dr. Tedford’s factual resume states that in January 2018, a source of information (SOI) at a pharmacy in Lubbock contacted the DEA to express concerns about Dr. Tedford’s prescribing practice. They stated that Dr. Tedford prescribed high quantities of hydrocodone, as well as alprazolam and carisoprodol. According to the SOI, individuals were driving from Lubbock to Brownfield to see Dr. Tedford and then returning to Lubbock to fill the prescriptions.
The release states in March 2018, DEA investigators requested an analysis from the Texas Commissioned Online Prescription System (TXCOPSRX), comparing Dr. Tedford’s prescribing to all physicians located in Terry County and Lubbock County over a two year period. According to TXCOPSRX, Dr. Tedford ranked ninth for total number of prescriptions issued for hydrocodone in Lubbock and Terry Counties combined, having prescribed 524,777 doses of hydrocodone to 341 patients between March 2016 and March 2018.
Dr. Tedford was ranked first in the total number of prescriptions issued for carisoprodol in Lubbock and Terry Counties combined, having prescribed 96,763 doses of carisoprodol during this time period to 102 patients.
Investigators requested a second TXCOPSRX analysis of Dr. Tedford’s prescribing and learned that between January 2016 and December 2017, the top three controlled substance prescriptions written by Dr. Tedford were for hydrocodone, carisoprodol, and alprazolam.
According to the release, In July 2018, DEA requested that a doctor who is board certified in family medicine and a clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine review some of Dr. Tedford’s patient files to determine whether Dr. Tedford prescribed certain controlled substances for a legitimate medical purpose and in the usual course of his professional practice. This medical expert found that, in 10 of those 12 cases, Dr. Tedford prescribed controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose, that his prescribing was far outside the usual course of legitimate professional medical practice, and that there were multiple departures from the Standard of Care.
“A physician who is board certified in family practice should never prescribe pain medicine at the levels Dennis Tedford was prescribing, many for non-medical purposes,” said Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division Clyde E. Shelley, Jr. “Addiction destroys people and families."
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey R. Haag led the prosecution. United States District Judge James Wesley Hendrix handed down the sentence.