MOBILE, Al. (WRKG) – The two painkiller doctors under fire for operating a highly-lucrative painkiller clinic in Mobile are now accused of killing four patients.
Dr. John Patrick Couch and Dr. Xiulu Ruan of Physician’s Pain Specialists of Alabama (PPSA) were hit with 11 new charges in connection to what’s been called “excessive and dangerous” painkiller prescribing practices.
Ruan is accused of killing two patients himself through prescriptions written for “D.W.” and “J.B.”
- K.D. (Patient of Dr. Couch) — dead after prescription written for Roxicodone and Oxycontin in March 2015
- P.C. (Patient of Dr. Couch) — dead after prescriptions written for oxymorphone and morphine sulphate instant release capsules in March 2014
- D.W. (Patient of Dr. Ruan) — dead after prescriptions written for oxymorphone (Opana_ in November 2014
- J.B. (Patient of Dr. Ruan) — dead after prescriptions written for morphine sulfate (MS-Contin) in October 2012
The four charges of killing the patients listed above each carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
Nearly a year ago in May 2015, authorities executed a raid ofPhysicians’ Pain Specialists of Alabama‘s (PPSA) two clinics in Mobile and C&R Pharmacy, all operated by Couch and Ruan. It was part of “Operation Pillution,” a massively-coordinated DEA raid of prescription painkiller clinics across four southern states. Dr. Couch and Dr. Ruan were both arrested for distributing controlled substances outside of legitimate medical purposes and healthcare fraud.
In the first indictment filed against the doctors, investigators gathered evidence of 66,892 prescriptions written by Couch and Ruan combined in 2014, deliberately “over-prescribing controlled substances to increase revenue.”
One informant who previously worked for Couch and Ruan said the two doctors would regularly compete to see who could hand out the most prescriptions to patients.