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News of the Day ... in Perspective

2/4/2005

Dr. Frank Fisher vindicated at last

Six years after federal agents raided his medical clinic in Anderson, California, Frank Fisher, M.D., appears to have seen the end of the legal problems that have kept him from practicing since.

The last of four wrongful death suits were dismissed against him this week, and plaintiffs were ordered to pay him nominal costs.

His attorneys believe that the cases were meant to piggback on his criminal prosecution, related to prescriptions of high-dose opioids for chronic pain. Murder charges brought against him were reduced to manslaughter and eventually dropped, but only after Dr. Fisher had spent five months in jail, with bond set at $15 million. One of the patients he was charged with killing died as a passenger in a car crash.

Dr. Fisher has signed an agreement with the state medical board to pass a refresher course in general medicine and to be monitored for a time. He does not plan to prescribe opioids.

“We’ve demonized our most valuable medicine. There’s nothing better and safer than opioids,” he said. But he said he was unwilling to take the risk of being targeted in another witch hunt (Record Searchlight, Feb 2, 2005).

Additional information:

A Guide for Pain-Treating Physicians by Frank Fisher, M.D.

Presentations by Frank Fisher, M.D., William Hurwitz, M.D., and Ron Libby, Ph.D. at the 2003 and 2004 AAPS annual meetings.

Evaluating the Risks of Unwarranted Prosecution, Part I: The Criminalization of Pain Management by Frank B. Fisher, M.D., J Am Phys Surg, Winter 2004

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