UPDATE: Former Perry pharmacist sentenced to 7 years for conspiring to illegally distribute drugs

Former pharmacist Jack Joseph was sentenced this afternoon to seven years in prison for conspiring to illegally distribute drugs with a suspended Perry physician implicated in the death of one of his patients.

Joseph, suspended Perry physician Spurgeon Green Jr., and Dorothy Mack, Green’s physician’s assistant, were tried in federal court in Macon on charges of distributing drugs “not for legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice” from January 2000 to July 2003.

After the seven-week-long jury trial, which included six full days of deliberations, Green was convicted Nov. 6 of wrongfully prescribing medications that led to the serious bodily injury of a patient who died under his care.

U.S. District Court Judge C. Ashley Royal varied from federal guidelines with a lower sentence for Joseph that the judge said from the bench still sent a strong message to the medical community but was hardly “a slap on the wrist” for a professional whose career is destroyed.

Earlier today in a separate hearing, Royal sentenced Mack to 41 months, or more than three-and-a-half years, in prison for giving out multiple prescriptions pre-signed by the doctor.

Green, who was also convicted of 32 counts of post-dating prescriptions and 12 other counts of wrongfully prescribing medications, is expected to be sentenced in May.

Joseph and Mack were acquitted of any death-related charges. Mack was convicted of 32 counts of giving out multiple prescriptions, mostly for Oxycodone, pre-signed by Green when he was out of town for a week.

Joseph was convicted of the general conspiracy, while jurors failed to reach a verdict on Mack on the general conspiracy charge. The jury was also unable to reach a verdict on whether Joseph’s pharmacy was used to wrongfully distribute drugs.

For more on this story, read Saturday’s Telegraph.