Doctor Who Met with Prince Agrees to $ 30K Settlement for Violating Controlled Substances Act

April 20, 2018 05:29 AM

The doctor who met with music icon Prince in the weeks leading up to superstar's death has agreed to a $30,000 civil settlement, according to the U.S. Attorney's Minnesota office.

The settlement was announced just hours before the Carver County Attorney's Office planned to announce whether it will file criminal charges in connection with the musician's death. County Attorney Mike Metz said at the press conference criminal charges will not be filed.

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UPDATE: No Criminal Charges in Superstar Prince's Accidental Overdose Death

Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family care physician, worked at a Minnetonka clinic a few miles from Prince's Paisley Park studio and home. Schulenberg no longer works for the health care system connected to the clinic.

In the weeks before Prince's April 21, 2016, death, the musician met twice with Schulenberg, according to search warrant documents. 

Investigators interviewed Schulenberg the day Prince died and searched the health care system's flagship hospital for Prince's medical records.

The warrant documents stated Schulenberg prescribed Prince medications in the weeks leading up to his death, but what they were and whether Prince took them was unknown at the time.

Read the related search warrant filed May 6, 2016, here.

Surveillance video from the investigative file from the Carver County County Sheriff's Office show Prince going to visit Schulenberg at his North Memorial Clinic on April 20, 2016.

Investigators say Schulenberg told them Prince wanted IV fluids, and was feeling "antsy." The singer also asked the doctor about "opiate withdrawal symptoms."

Video obtained by investigators from a Walgreens shows Johnson picking up several prescriptions intended for Prince the day before the overdose.

Text messages between Johnson and Schulenberg illustrate the pair were trying to get Prince help in the days leading up to his death. Johnson asked the doctor to send medical records to Howard Kornfeld, the addiction specialist who sent his son to Minnesota to meet with Prince.

According to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation, it was determined Schulenberg did in fact prescribe "Schedule 2 controlled substances" on April 14, 2016. According to the settlement agreement document, Schulenberg prescribed those substances "in the name of an individual, knowing that the controlled substances were intended to be used by another individual," which violates the Controlled Substances Act.

“Doctors are trusted medical professionals and, in the midst of our opioid crisis, they must be part of the solution,” U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said in a statement. “As licensed professionals, doctors are held to a high level of accountability in their prescribing practices, especially when it comes to highly addictive painkillers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA will not hesitate to take action against healthcare providers who fail to comply with the Controlled Substances Act. We are committed to using every available tool to stem the tide of opioid abuse.”

As part of the settlement agreement, Schulenberg must now maintain logs of all controlled substances he prescribes for a period of two years, he must give the DEA access to those logs, he's required to submit copies of those logs on a quarterly basis, and he must give the DEA access to his prescribing history using the state's prescription monitoring program.

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Kirsten Swanson and Rebecca Omastiak

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