CARMEL, In (October 12th, 2014) --- When federal agents raided a Carmel-based chain of painkiller clinics July 25th, it sent a shockwave through the medical community and the roster of patients who depended on Dr. Larry Ley to ease their aches and dependance.
Now Ley's attorneys are fighting back, claiming, at worst, their client may be a sloppy doctor but he's not a drug dealer.
In a Motion to Dismiss recently filed, Ley's legal counsel argues, "the writing of a valid prescription by a licensed physician is an absolute defense to a charge of dealing in a controlled substance."
Federal investigators alleged this summer that Ley, his team of physicans and employees engaged in a cash-and-carry business that dispensed prescriptions of the drug Soboxone which some patients use as a substitute for heroin.
"One of the 27 undercover visits took 39 seconds while others only took a few minutes," said one investigator at the time of the raids.
John Tompkins represents a non-licensed clerk at the clinic who was charged with dealing in a controlled substance.
"My client is not a physician," said Tompkins. "He has never been licensed in any medical or clinical field and has no knowledge of what constitutes the professional medical standards for treating these kinds of addictions.
"Even if the doctors were writing prescriptions without physical exams, the non-medical staff of those clinics would not know that."
Tompkins is familar with the legal arguments raised in Dr. Ley's appeal.
"Writing a prescription without a physical examination ever taking place would be a violation of a rule, not a per se criminal offense," he said. "The rule says you can't write a prescription unless you have done a physical exam at some time. There is no law that says it is a felony or misdemeanor to write a prescription without having performed a physical examination."
Defense attorneys argue that Ley, "was acting in the usual course of his professional practice or business," and, at worst, may have violated a licensing rule but not a federal law.
Federal authorities cited guidelines that direct doctors to oversee no more than 100 patients at a time as part of their practice.
2013 records show the DORN clinics treated 1600 patients, neeting $718,000 in revenue while charging patients $120-160 per month for their prescriptions.
Following the raids, Fox 59 viewers complained that they were being deprived of legitimate access to essential medication.