Dr. Warren Stack, the so-called ‘Candy Man,’ is off to prison to serve the eight year sentence Judge Tena Campbell handed down in federal court in Salt Lake City. The charges against Stack stem from his practice in Murray where he was doling out prescription drugs to as many as 80 patients a day. He would take cash for the drugs and then charge insurance companies for examinations never performed. Stack pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of a controlled substance, money laundering and health insurance fraud, but he did not plead guilty to causing anyone’s death – although he is clearly responsible for doing so.
Matters came to a head on May 16, 2007, when he was arrested at his office and about a week later, the Utah Physicians Licensing Board suspended Dr. Stack’s medical license. That December, a grand jury issued an 18-count indictment . Two of Stack’s employees where also charged with conspiracy for their roles in peddling the pain pills. Counts 2 through 6 of the indictment relate to deaths:
Counts 2 through 6 of the indictment charge Stack with knowingly distributing and dispensing drugs without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the bounds of medical practice that resulted in the deaths of five individuals, including the April 9, 2007, death of Tyler Lugo; the October 23, 2005, death of Thomas Brandon Scott; the May 4, 2007, death of Kaydie Winters; the August 23, 2006, death of Thaison Roark; and the March 10, 2005, death of Michael Barker. The drugs included Oxycodone and Methadone Hydrochloride.
The dangers of prescription drugs are well known and the abuses are many – all the more reason to throw the book hard at those who are in a position of trust when they violate that trust and become part of the problem. Is eight years enough?
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.