January 16, 2020
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Doctor barred for life from practicing in Maine after conviction for faking painkiller prescriptions

Courtesy of the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah
Courtesy of the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah

A Hancock County physician will no longer practice medicine in Maine after allegedly issuing 516 painkiller prescriptions — for at least 38,600 pills — to a fictional patient in Maine and Maryland.

The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine said Thursday that Dr. Brandt Rice, a family medicine specialist and former Blue Hill resident, had agreed to permanently surrender his Maine medical license. Rice’s license was previously suspended on June 12, 2018. He had practiced in Brooklin, Maine and Montgomery, Maryland.

The permanent surrender comes after Rice was found guilty of Possession with Intent to Distribute Oxycodone in Montgomery County, Maryland, in February 2019 after he was arrested by county police there in April 2018.

According to Maryland media accounts, he was charged with four counts each of unlawfully obtaining prescription drugs by forging 316 prescriptions and possessing a controlled dangerous substance.

The Maine board’s own month-long investigation into Rice uncovered five violations of Maine medical license standards, including fraudulent conduct, prescribing drugs for non-therapeutic purposes, and failure to cooperate with a board investigation.

Board investigators found Maine Prescription Monitoring Program records showing that Brandt Rice placed prescriptions for a patient named Aaron Rice for over 27,000 painkiller pills from June 2014 to December 2017, according to the order that temporarily suspended his Maine license in June 2018.

At least one of two addresses listed for Aaron Rice matched an address for Brandt Rice, according to the order.

Board investigators also failed to find Aaron Rice in national databases. Pharmacists in Blue Hill confirmed delivering Aaron Rice’s oxycodone and hydrocodone prescriptions to Dr. Rice, who paid for the drugs himself, according to the order.

In Maryland, police arrested Rice on eight charges after video surveillance at four pharmacies in Potomac and Bethesda allegedly showed him placing and collecting four oxycodone prescriptions between Dec. 14 and Dec. 23, 2017, according to Maryland media accounts.

The prescriptions were for a 66-year-old patient identified as Aaron Rice, whom Brandt Rice allegedly claimed was a prostate cancer patient who had recently moved from Maine to Maryland.

But Maryland police said that searches of state and national databases failed to find Aaron Rice, and mailing addresses the doctor allegedly listed for his patient in Brooklin and Bethesda were bogus, according to media accounts.

Maryland police said that Brandt Rice obtained 316 prescriptions for Aaron Rice from January 2011 to December 2017, mostly for oxycodone and hydrocodone. In all of 2017, Brandt Rice allegedly collected 11,600 tablets of oxycodone for Aaron Rice and paid for them himself. The arrests were the culmination of a four-month investigation, according to media accounts.

The Board of Licensure in Medicine is the Maine state agency charged with verifying the qualifications of physicians to practice in the state, and disciplining physicians for unprofessional conduct and incompetence.

 



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