FORT SMITH — A Fort Smith physician, Donald E. Hinderliter, was sentenced today to 4 years in federal prison followed by 1 year of supervised release on one count of Distribution of a Controlled Substance without an Effective Prescription. The Honorable Judge P. K. Holmes III presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Fort Smith.
According to court documents, Hinderliter, 85, of Fort Smith, pleaded guilty to a felony Information charging unlawful distribution of a controlled substance namely, alprazolam. From approximately January 2016 and through November 8, 2018, Hinderliter was an owner and practitioner at Hinderliter Pain Clinic that operated as a pain management clinic in Barling, Arkansas. In May 2017, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) received several anonymous complaints that Hinderliter was operating a “pill mill” under the name Hinderliter Pain Clinic. The complaints stated that Hinderliter and his associate, Dr. Cecil W. Gaby, charged cash, prescribed hydrocodone and benzodiazepines in the same amount to patients regardless of a particular patient’s prognosis or need, and that patients traveled great distances within the state of Arkansas and surrounding states seeking large quantities and dangerous combinations of oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, and methadone, among other controlled substances. As part of the plea, Hinderliter admitted that he prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines to more than 150 individuals, often not for a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice. Specifically, on October 17, 2016, Hinderliter prescribed 84 alprazolam 2mg pills, a Schedule IV controlled substance to a patient that was not for a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice.
On May 27, 2021, Dr. Cecil W. Gaby was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment for his role in the Hinderliter Pain Clinic and Gaby Medical Clinic in Fort Smith, Arkansas. On the same date, Dr. Robin Cox was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment for distribution of opioid medications outside legitimate medical practice at an unrelated clinic in Rogers, Arkansas.
U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DEA Diversion Little Rock, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS), Arkansas State Medical Board and the Fort Smith Police Department investigated the case.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Gardner and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Carter prosecuted the case for the United States.
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