GREENSBURG (KDKA) – A doctor from Westmoreland County was arrested for allegedly writing and filling hundreds of illegal prescriptions.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro says Dr. Ralph A. Capone, of Greensburg, filled more than 330 prescriptions written in his family members’ names for the narcotic Hydrocodone. Investigators say one of the illegal prescriptions was made out to Dr. Capone himself.
“Nobody can think they’re above it because the addiction eventually catches up to you and that’s what happened to this doctor,” said Dirk Matson,the Human Service Director for Westmoreland County.
Hydrocodone is an opioid-based medication used to treat colds and other upper-respiratory infections. It is chemically similar to morphine, and is considered to be a controlled substance because of its potential for abuse.
Investigators say Dr. Capone, who is the former chief medical officer at Excela Health, filled the prescriptions at local pharmacies, and that his family members were unaware that he had used their names to obtain the medication.
“There’s nobody that’s immune to it, nobody,” said Matson. “Nobody in positions of power, the whole way down through society.”
The investigation included a raid on the doctor’s Greensburg home, where court records say some of the illegally-obtained drugs were found.
In a statement, Attorney General Shapiro said, “Not only is this illegal, it could have impacted the quality of medical care that he was providing to his patients. We will continue to prosecute anyone who illegally abuses prescription drugs, including health care professionals.”
Pennsylvania law prohibits physicians from prescribing controlled substances to themselves or to their family members, unless it’s an emergency. Investigators say Dr. Capone admitted to writing and filling the prescriptions illegally.
Dr. Capone is now facing several charges, including acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery or deception and identity theft.
Dr. Capone was released from custody, and bail was set at $50,000, unsecured. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 24, 2017, for a preliminary hearing.