DEA closes pain management clinics in Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale

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UPDATE: On Oct. 15, 2010, the Arizona Medical Board issued Dr. Angelo Chirban a letter of reprimand. His license status is listed as active with restrictions.

PHOENIX - Mike McQuillen takes dozens of pills every day.

“I've had four heart surgeries, I'm missing discs in my back, I have bilateral carpal tunnel,” he said.

With all those conditions, Mike and his wife Shelly say he's in a lot of pain.

“It's been rough, we don’t even sleep in the same bed at night,” Shelly said as she wiped away tears.

To cope with the pain, Mike takes two narcotics, morphine and Soma, prescribed to him by Dr. Angelo Chirban, who owns Pain Management Clinics in Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale.

But all three clinics are now closed after being raided earlier this month by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Every month was red flags that you see with the clinic,” Mike said. “And that did cause me concern every month wondering next month are they going to be here.”

According to DEA documents obtained by 3 On Your Side, Dr. Chirban and his wife Marilyn are accused of operating a "prescription mill," reportedly with help from business partner, Jeffrey Gubernick.

Jeffrey Gubernick owns Community Pharmacy, which has locations all over the Valley, including a couple right next door to the Pain Clinics.

The DEA accuses the clinics and Community Pharmacy of “illegally dispensing controlled substances by prescribing, forging prescriptions, and filling forged prescriptions, for quantities and mixtures of schedule II and schedule III controlled substances absent a legitimate medical purpose.”

The DEA 's search warrant also states the “prescribing practices may have led to the deaths of at least 10 patients.”

During recent raids of the businesses, the DEA says it seized, among other things, hundreds of medical files, files that are needed by patients who are now looking for a new doctor.

“I called 3 On Your Side because I am concerned about my medical records, there is a lot of personal information out there,” Mike said.

The DEA tells 3 On Your Side it can't talk about the case because of its ongoing investigation, but that so far, no charges have been filed.

The administration tells us patients who want their medical records should call the DEA to come pick them up.

3 On Your Side tried to contact Dr, Chirban, but were told by neighbors that he'd recently moved out of his Paradise Valley home.

Our calls to Jeffrey Gubernick were not returned.

Patients looking to get their medical records returned can call the DEA at 602-664-5600.

UPDATE: On June 10, 2010, the Arizona Medical Board issued an interim order for practice restriction, meaning Dr. Chirban cannot practice medicine while the DEA's investigation is ongoing.