Local Doctor is Not Guilty – Prescription Drug Conspiracy
Doctor found not guilty of illegally prescribing medication
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A doctor who was charged with illegally prescribing medication to a staff member out of an East Liberty women’s clinic was found not guilty on all counts Wednesday.
John P. Barrett, 42, of Mt. Lebanon was charged in March with three counts, including selling a controlled substance, illegally dispensing and illegally administering a controlled substance.
According to the criminal complaint, the Allegheny Women’s Center, at 121 N. Highland Ave., which has since closed, was receiving large quantities of Diethylpropion, an obesity medication. There were approximately 20,000 pills unaccounted for over a four-year period from the clinic.
Investigators said they found the medicine was being used by Mark Wagner, a lab tech, who took it to treat anxiety and depression.
But prosecutors said Mr. Wagner was not a patient of Dr. Barrett, the clinic’s director, or Dr. Alton Lawson, and that the man’s psychiatrist was not aware he was taking the medication.
In July, Dr. Lawson pleaded guilty to two count of sale of a controlled substance and entered the court’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, which will clear his record after nine month of successful probation.
Mr. Wagner pleaded guilty in May to five misdemeanor counts and was sentenced to five years probation. He told investigators that he used the drug but also sold it to a friend to help her lose weight.
Dr. Barrett had a nonjury trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani on Wednesday.
Defense attorney Steven C. Townsend called no witnesses, but argued to the court that even though his client’s DEA number was used to order medications for the clinic, that did not mean he was aware Mr. Wagner was using it, abusing it or not an actual patient of Dr. Lawson.