Another local Tampa Bay area doctor faces federal drug charges this month. Dr. John Anthony Gianoli, III, a physician practicing in St. Petersburg and Largo, was indicted recently on five counts of illegally distributing or causing the distribution of oxycodone.
According to the indictment, Gianoli illegally prescribed oxycodone on five occasions between October 2009 and February 2010. He is apparently an internist who specializes in pain management and has an interest in yoga.
If convicted on all counts, Gianoli faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Gianoli that the United States intends to forfeit his medical license and DEA registration. Gianoli is only the latest local physician charged with illegally prescribing painkillers over the last several years. Local, state and federal law enforcement have focused intently on what they believe is a prescription drug crisis in Florida.
In fact, the new Electronic Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation (E-FORCSE) online database launched this week, purportedly to assist in efforts to cut down on prescription drug abuse and "doctor-shopping." E-FORCSE tracks when, where, how much and how often prescription drugs are dispensed throughout Florida and enables physicians to request the prescription drug history of patients.
Pharmacists and other health professionals who prescribe narcotic-grade medication such as oxycodone are required to report such prescription information to the database. The other purpose of the E-FORCSE database, of course, is to track which doctors' offices and clinics are prescribing high volumes of narcotics to large numbers of patients. So, we will probably continue to see the prosecution of local Tampa Bay area doctors on these drug charges for some time yet.