CLARION – The trial for Dr. Thomas Radecki is well underway with witnesses telling their stories and professionals who are providing their information on what is turning into Clarion’s most extensive in a long time.
Thursday April 14 a witness from Cardinal Health, Steve Morse, took the stand and was questioned by state attorney general prosecutors.
Cardinal Health was the sole distributor from which Radecki purchased all of his drugs and Morse holds a position that looks into suspicious cases among physicians.
Morse explained he became familiar with Radecki in 2010 for the amount of Subutex (buprenorphine) that he was ordering.
He contacted Radecki’s sales representative and found Radecki was using the other physician’s patients, who would occasionally work in his office, to increase the amount of Subutex he was ordering.
Subutex is a controlled substance used to treat patients who are trying to overcome the addictions to opiate drugs like heroin or morphine.
Morse explained each physician who wants to treat a patient with Subutex must file for a license with the DEA.
Also for a physician to obtain and dispense buprenorphine, they need to receive training about the drug to be aware of substance abuse from the drug.
In the first year, the physician is permitted to treat up to 30 patients with Subutex. After that, they may appeal to the DEA to treat more and if approved, are allowed to treat up to 100 patients in total, regardless of how many offices the physician has.
In addition, if the physician wants to distribute Subutex in more than one location, he needs a license from the DEA for each location of distribution.
On November 3, 2011, Radecki sent an email to Cardinal Health claiming the delivery of 60 bottles he had ordered and shown as delivered, was never received.
Anytime a controlled substance such as Subutex is missing, damaged or stolen, the physician must report the issue to the DEA within one day. The only time Radecki ever filed a formal report was in March 2009 for 1,000 tablets of Xanax that were stolen during a night break-in.
Around the same time, Radecki sent another email explaining he was bringing in new physicians to his office and the number of patients he would be treating with Subutex would be increasing from 700 to 1,070 within the next year.
At the end of April 2012, Morse investigated Radecki again and talked to him on the phone, explaining to Radecki a physician is permitted to distribute prescribed drugs to patients but not to other physicians or other physician’s patients unless licensed as a distributor.
Morse explained, from the records at Cardinal Health, in 2011 Radecki had ordered 589,140 doses of Subutex which made him the highest purchaser of the drug in that year.
The next witness the state called to the stand was Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jared Thomas of Punxsutawney.
Thomas was questioned about a complaint he received from a former female patient of Radecki.
Upon interviewing the victim with another officer, she allegedly reported during an examination, Radecki told her, “You must be really good at sex.” She also allegedly reported of Radecki attempting to kiss her several times during the examination.
Following Thomas’ questioning, the last witness for that morning was Lewis Colosimo, an investigator for the DEA.
Colosimo became familiar with complaints about Radecki in 2010 through defense attorney Mark Aaron.
In March 2011, Colosimo began receiving more complaints from probation officers indicating concern that many of his people were getting Suboxone from people selling it on the streets.
CVS Pharmacy also addressed concern about buprenorphine prescriptions, specifically about Radecki’s patients.
March 2011, Colosimo was contacted by Warren Hospital with a report that it was treating several former patients of Radecki.
Colosimo responded to the complaints by passing the information to the Attorney General, who was launching a larger investigation.
On June 29, 2012, Colosimo was with a team to inspect Radecki’s office with a search warrant.
During their search, they found an Aldi bag next to Radecki’s desk which contained bottles of buprenorphine, generic Klonopin, dextroamphetamine and generic Ritalin, along with an open box of Suboxone that was purchased from a pharmacy with one of Radecki’s patients names on it.
Upon more searching, they also came across Ambien and around 40 bottles of buprenorphine.
Colosimo stated in addition, they estimated around 16,000 doses of Subutex in the safe.
During the warrant search, Colosimo interviewed Radecki about the use of all the controlled substance they found. He also questioned him about the licenses he is required to have for distribution of Subutex.
Radecki had registered three of his four offices with the DEA. He did not have a license for his office in Kane.
Radecki claimed that he “had just not gotten around to it.”
With further investigation, they found Radecki was also distributing the drug from his residence, which was also not licensed by the DEA.
Radecki also explained to Colosimo that he was selling the drug directly to the patients as a convenience to make it cheaper for his patients.
Defense attorney John “Jack” Troese then questioned Colosimo during his time on the stand.
Through questioning, Colosimo went through the list of the visiting physicians from Radecki’s offices and found in 2012, the total amount of patients they were allowed to treat with buprenorphine was 780 patients.
During the interview Colosimo had with Radecki on the day of the search warrant, Colosimo reported Radecki told him between all four offices and the physicians, there were 973 patients being treated with buprenorphine.
Following Troese’s questions, the prosecution found out in follow-up questions Radecki had a physician transfer his license to Radecki’s office in Kane two months after the search warrant was conducted.
The trial is expected to continue at the Clarion County Courthouse through the week and part way into next week.