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Prosecutors allege doctor may be tied to overdose deaths

ST. LOUIS — Federal prosecutors are trying to strip a Potosi doctor of his medical license to write prescriptions. Dr. Seth Paskon was in federal court in St. Louis on Tuesday and Wednesday for a hearing on the license case.

According to an article printed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, prosecutors are alleging Paskon is recklessly handing out prescriptions to patients and may be linked to as many as 46 drug overdose deaths in two Missouri counties. Even though he hasn’t been charged in any deaths that have occurred in Washington and St. Francois counties, prosecutors are saying Paskon has been giving out prescriptions for years, ignoring patients’ warning signs and prescribing powerful doses of painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs without a legitimate medical purpose.

In court Paskon denied the allegations and said several of the dead patients were not treated by him. He said others were on drugs that were not prescribed by him or died from other causes.

U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway sued Paskon in June on allegations he prescribed powerful drugs that contributed to the deaths of eight patients.

The lawsuit is seeking to fine Paskon and to limit his ability to prescribe drugs. The case is scheduled to go to trial in July. Hanaway spokeswoman Jan Diltz would not say in June whether a criminal investigation is under way.

Hanaway said Paskon also provided large amounts of pain and anxiety relief drugs to a visibly pregnant patient. The drugs are not usually prescribed for pregnant women, and both the mother and baby had high levels of those drugs in their blood at the time of delivery.

A woman who answered Paskon’s phone said he had no comment on the suit.

Paskon, who received his medical training in Thailand, had been under scrutiny by state regulators for his medical practices, the lawsuit said. He was ordered to take a refresher course in pharmacology and agreed to stop prescribing controlled substances for a time in the late 1990s.

In 2002, the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts sought to discipline him for alleged medical misconduct. In March of this year, a commission found no cause to discipline his medical license.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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