It is rare to find a criminal prosecution where a doctor is accused of writing prescriptions in the name of her patients as a subterfuge to get the drugs for herself. That is precisely what New York authorities charged a celebrity dermatologist with on July 9 in Manhattan. They arrested the doctor on charges of criminal drug possession and the criminal sale of prescription drugs.
Dr. Cheryl Karcher has appeared on numerous television talk shows and as a commentator in news programs as a dermatologist. She is also billed as the consulting dermatologist to the Miss Universe organization. The allegations are that she filled at least 15 prescriptions for what appear to be mostly Percocet, a pain killer that consists of Oxycodone and Acetaminophen.
The prosecutor charged this Upper East Side practitioner with using her own prescription forms and filling in patient names on them for the Percocet. It remains unclear, however, if the case against her includes selling any of the pills to other persons for profit, an allegation that seems to be included in some of the press descriptions of the charges. In that connection, one law enforcement official said that the investigation is continuing.
Her criminal defense attorney stated that she would vigorously defend the criminal charges, as she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment. It is alleged that she defrauded the pharmacies, telling them that she was doing favors for her patients. There is also an accusation of some prescriptions being written to a third party, who is a friend.
It remains to be seen what defense the defendant may pose to the drug possession and other charges. If the basic charges are supported by hard evidence under New York law, and if she actually suffers an opioid addiction, it may be wise for defense counsel to go forward on a defense that stresses a medical affliction that needs treatment rather than punishment. Although the prosecution may want a sentence of incarceration, the extent of these actions, if proved, indicate a personal problem that would probably be highly receptive to treatment and recovery.
Source: New York Daily News, “Celebrity dermatologist busted for prescription drug possession: sources“, Shayna Jacobs and Dareh Gregorian, July 9, 2014