Prestonsburg doctor fined $50,000 in missing pills settlement with feds

A Prestonsburg physician has paid the federal government $50,000 to settle civil claims that she failed to account for nearly 5,000 prescription pills at her office, U.S. District Attorney Kerry Harvey said Friday in a news release.

According to the settlement agreement, the U.S. government contends that, from June 2009 until May 2012, Dr. Laura Hazeltine failed to maintain accurate inventory records of controlled substances. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration reported in an audit that Hazeltine, who practices family medicine, couldn't account for 4,967 pills and at least 10 purchasing records for controlled substances, the release said.

In addition to the monetary settlement amount, Dr. Hazeltine surrendered her DEA registration, according to the release.

Doctors are allowed to write prescriptions for controlled substances only if they are registered with the DEA, and they are required to maintain complete and accurate inventory and dispensing records of all controlled substances.

In November 2012, Hazeltine entered into an agreed order with the Kentucky Board of Medical License that indefinitely restricted her medical license, according to board records. Under the order, Hazeltine is prohibited from prescribing controlled substances. The order said Hazeltine did not agree with the allegations made by the DEA.