Doctor Charged in Vicodin-for-Sex Scheme

A Pine, PA doctor has been charged with providing drugs for sex. Michael Vogini, an osteopathic doctor, had been writing prescriptions in exchange for oral sex to at least six of his female patients. The investigation of Dr. Vogini was precipitated by the 2006 death of Beverly Switalski. Switalski died from an overdose of prescription drugs, and investigators found bottles from Dr. Vogini scattered near her body.

Attorney General Tom Corbett described the amount of prescription narcotic drugs in the woman’s system as “staggering.” During the grand jury hearings, it was revealed that Vogini had sex with the women in his office, their homes, or in hotel rooms.

One of the women was both his practical nurse and patient. They had a sexual relationship during which he gave her prescriptions for hydrocodone, Vicodin, and diet pills. The woman reportedly told Vogini she was addicted, yet he still supplied her with prescription drugs.

Vogini supplied powerfully addictive opiates such as Vicodin to female patients from 1999 to 2008. For some, he offered the drugs in exchange for sex; others gave him money to write him prescriptions.

Vogini is also charged with Medicaid fraud. He did not give his employees health coverage, so if they wanted prescription drugs, he filled them in the names of their children covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He also filled prescriptions in the names of patients’ friends or family.

Vogini is being held at the Allegheny County Jail on $500,000 bail.

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The Pain of Addiction

Vicodin addiction often starts innocently enough. Most people start taking Vicodin or other pain medications after surgery or an injury. But then they can’t stop. They need more to get the same pain relief. They start doctor shopping to get more pills. And the cycle continues until it takes over their lives.