Doctor from Lowry City charged with writing prescriptions without state permit

OSCEOLA, Mo. -- A family doctor from Lowry City is accused of writing prescriptions for more than two years without having a valid state permit to do so.  The St. Clair County prosecuting attorney filed 16 felony charges against Dr. John Ure on Monday after an investigation by the state’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Ure, 62, is an osteopathic physician who practices at the Lowry City Medical Clinic.  According to the probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges, Ure let his Missouri Controlled Substances Registration lapse in June 2010 but kept writing prescriptions until Sept. 13, 2012.  Investigators have a printout of 1,329 prescriptions written by Ure during that time that were filled at just one drug store.  [Editor's note: the probable cause statement says this drug store is Evans Drug in Osceola, but it should have said Evans Drug in El Dorado Springs; there is no drug store in Osceola.]

The probable cause statement lists some of the drugs that his patients got because of Ure’s prescriptions.  They include Valium, Oxycontin, Percocet, Dilaudid and Marinol.

The probable cause statement is attributed to Michael Boeger, administrator and Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.  That’s part of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

In the statement, Boeger says Ure met with representatives from his bureau three weeks ago and “openly admitted and acknowledged that he allowed his previous Missouri Controlled Substances Registration to lapse.  He prescribed controlled substances in the absence of a registration and this prescribing took place at his clinic in Lowry City.”

If Ure is convicted, he could face a prison sentence up to four years and/or a fine up to $5,000 for each charge.  A judge issued a warrant for his arrest and set a bond of $10,000 on Monday.

This is not the first time that Ure has been in trouble for not having a state registration to write prescriptions.  Boeger wrote in the probable cause statement that “Ure allowed a prior Missouri Controlled Substances Registration to lapse on October 31, 2002.  The doctor prescribed controlled substances unlawfully until December 11, 2003.  For these violations the Bureau issued a Letter of Censure against the doctor’s registration.”

It’s not clear from the probable cause statement whether Ure now has a registration to write prescriptions.  No one answered the telephone on Monday afternoon when a reporter called the Lowry City Medical Clinic.  A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Senior Services did not return a message left for her on Monday afternoon. 

Ure has a valid medical license in Missouri; it's good until Jan. 31, 2014.   He used to practice at a clinic in Osceola but the administrator of Sac-Osage Hospital, which owned the clinic building, terminated his lease sometime in the past year after complaints from other medical practitioners that Ure wrote too many prescriptions.