HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal grand jury returned an indictment against a Northumberland County doctor accused of unlawful prescriptions of opioids that resulted in the death of five patients.
Dr. Raymond Kraynak, 60, of Mount Carmel, faces 19 total counts in connection with the case, including five counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. Federal agents took Kraynak into custody Thursday morning in Northumberland County.
"This sort of behavior that we allege is a root cause of the incredible issue that we're dealing with right now of heroin and opioid abuse," said U.S. Attorney David Freed.
Attorneys allege Kraynak ran a "pill mill" from his private practice, Keystone Family Medical Associates, in Mount Carmel and Shamokin. The federal indictment alleges Kraynak prescribed more than 2.7 million opioid pills from January 2016 to July 2017.
"Today, we're truly alleging that Dr. Kraynak is rogue," said Gary Tuggle, special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. "His arrest will undoubtedly save lives down the road."
Complaints about Kraynak began in 2005, and he is also accused of prescribing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose or completing medical exams, as well as failing to assess the risk of abuse by patients.
Many of Kraynak's patients were from Northumberland and Schuylkill counties, but some from outside the immediate area would go to his practice seeking opioid prescriptions, Freed said.
FOX43's sister station, WNEP, reports one man told them Kraynak was known around the area as "the candy man," and one pharmacy in the area would refuse to fill prescriptions issued by Kraynak because he prescribed so many opioids.
"Ethical physicians are forced to jump through seemingly unending bureaucratic hoops," said Lt. Leo Hannon of the Pennsylvania State Police. "They're forced to do so because criminals make the choice to forgo their sacred oath."
Freed had a message to other rogue doctors who may be out there.
"There is a coordinated team of federal, state and local law enforcement that are happy to work together to take them down," Freed said. "To the patients of these physicians, the message is [to] go find somebody else."