ALMOND: Toronto doc jail for drug trafficking wants license back

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For more than a year, the family doctor flooded Toronto streets with OxyContin, leading an estimated 225 tablets a day of the highly addictive opioid to the black market in a scheme that also swindled Ontario’s health system at three-quarters of a million dollars.

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Dr. John Kitakufe was busy buying medicine even though he had been convicted and imprisoned for a similar scheme in Chicago decades earlier – and even after assuring the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) he had changed his way.

In 2007, a judge in Ontario sent him to jail. In 2010, he was deprived of his license.

Now the twice-jailed doctor says he deserves to treat patients again and was back on a committee in the CPSO this week, where he asked to be reinstated.

But how many chances should a convicted fraudster and Oxi boilers receive?

The college, for its part, says no more.

As a concluding speech, CPSO lawyer Emily Graham insisted that Kitakufe has wasted his previous opportunities and has not done enough to prove that he no longer poses a risk to the public. All these years later, she said, he still does not really take responsibility for his serious crimes.

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Instead, he blames everyone from the government to the pharmaceutical industry, she said, throwing herself as another “victim” of the opioid crisis – when Graham actually insisted, “he contributed to the existence of this crisis through his actions.”

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His scheme was about financial greed, the lawyer said.

From February 2005 until his arrest of OPP in September 2006, Kitakufe OHIP fraudulently billed nearly $ 200,000 for fake medical examinations, where he would then issue prescriptions for “medically unnecessary” OxyContin. The government was billed out of an additional $ 575,000 when the fake patients then filled their prescriptions on pills that were resold on the street for several million dollars.

The court was told that drug trafficking had a $ 200 setback from his accomplices for every Oxy script he wrote. It is estimated that Kitakufe pocketed $ 260,000 in cash.

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Sentenced to 32 months in custody, he served 20 months before being jailed. He was also sentenced to pay $ 50,000 in compensation to the health ministry.

By 1986, Kitakufe had been convicted for his part in a fraud scheme while working as a doctor on the south side of Chicago – but the Ontario regulator easily released him. His medical license was suspended for only six months.

They must have thought he had learned his lesson from Chicago. Instead, he was back in trouble with the law. In 2010, the Disciplinary Committee found that the only appropriate punishment was to revoke his license.

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Now all these years later, Kitakufe says he is a changed man who wants to give back to his community.

His lawyer, Sam Baker, told the CPSO committee over Zoom that Kitakufe has “enormous shame and remorse.” He is now heavily involved in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, engages in therapy, and no longer has family responsibilities that could lead him wrong.

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“He has recovered from what it was that made him so violently offended,” he promised.

Now the doctor is eager to take care of patients under any restrictions, Baker said, including a ban on prescribing drugs.

Does he deserve another chance? Has he paid his debt to society?

According to the college, Kitakufe did not deserve the privilege of resuming his care of patients.

In addition to his lack of insight, Graham told the committee that there is no evidence that he has continued any medical education since 2016, he has never taken the required frontier course, he has not presented any forensic risk assessment or detailed plan for how he would be monitored .

It would be difficult to explain to the public why they would reintroduce a “twice convicted fraudster and road user,” the college’s attorney said.

It really would.

The committee has reserved its decision.

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