Ex-doctor gets 6 years in pain medicine case

Ex-doctor gets 6 years in pain medicine case

March 9th, 2011 by Beth Burger in Local - Breaking News

In this file photo, Dr. Elizabeth Reimers of Winchester, Tenn. before her first hearing in federal court in Chattanooga, Oct. 30. 2008.

A 40-year-old former Winchester physician was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in federal court today after her pain medication prescriptions contributed to the deaths of three patients.

Elizabeth Reimers had been charged with 130 counts of illegally distributing pain medication. She pleaded guilty to three counts in exchange for a lesser sentence,

Without the plea agreement, she potentially faced a minimum of 20 years on the charges. Instead she was sentenced to 70 months and will have to report to prison by April 13.

Attorneys on both sides said this was not a typical "pill mill" case where doctors see about 60 to 80 patients per day and dole out high amounts of pain medication to make profits.

Reimers, who voluntarily gave up her medical license four years ago, had a hard time saying no to addicts who asked for more medication, attorneys said.

She did not profit from the prescriptions outside of her normal doctor's fees.

Prosecutors accepted a plea deal because it would have been difficult to prove Reimer's prescribed medications actually caused death. Addicts often find drugs from numerous sources.

For more on this story, see Thursday's Times Free Press.