LARGO — For the second time in five years, health officials have taken emergency action to stop a Pinellas County doctor from writing excessive prescriptions for powerful painkillers.
Authorities say Dr. Ty Anderson, an osteopathic family physician, prescribed "potentially lethal quantities" of widely abused narcotics such as Roxicodone and Percocet, often without so much as a physical exam.
He also permitted an assistant — a nurse who was his girlfriend — to illegally sign prescriptions when he took a leave from practice, state health officials say.
Similar charges netted Anderson, 46, a previous suspension in 2006. In that violation, he was fined $12,500 but allowed to return to practice.
In recent years, Anderson, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, has been treating patients at Anderson Medical Clinic, a pain clinic at 10333 Seminole Blvd., Suite 4, in Largo.
An employee told investigators he was instructed to recruit new patients by promising they would leave the clinic with at least 240 oxycodone pills, as well as other prescription medications popular as street drugs.
Two patients said the clinic knew they were illegally going from doctor's office to doctor's office to shop for drugs.
Still, Anderson refilled their prescriptions.
One was a 41-year-old man, identified as K.P. In an 8-month period, he left the pain clinic on 10 occasions with prescriptions from Anderson on each visit for 690 pills, mostly narcotics.
At one point, the patient told Anderson that he was worried about being overmedicated and asked to change his treatment.
But K.P. was informed that his prescriptions were pre-signed and couldn't be changed — at least not without a $25 charge.
The Florida Department of Health announced Wednesday the emergency suspension of Anderson's medical license.
The St. Petersburg Times has written repeatedly about Anderson's troubled medical record.
In 2006, he was the medical director of Doctors Urgent Care, a St. Petersburg walk-in clinic advertising easy access to Vicodin, Percocet and other drugs.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office raided the clinic and arrested one of its doctors, as well as the clinic's owner and two physician's assistants.
But Anderson wasn't charged. Detectives said he was rarely there.
Instead, he signed stacks of blank prescriptions and sent them by courier from his main office in Seminole.
Outside of his medical work, Anderson has been arrested multiple times, most recently in 2009 on cocaine charges.
In other action, state health officials suspended the license of Dr. James Paul Oakes, a Treasure Island osteopathic physician who pleaded guilty in August to a felony drug trafficking charge involving oxycodone.
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Letitia Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8330.