Prince doctor to pay $4K civil penalty for prescription
Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2020
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota medical board has disciplined a doctor who treated Prince for prescribing pain medication for the pop megastar in another person’s name.
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice last month reprimanded Dr. Michael Schulenberg and ordered him to pay a civil penalty of $4,648. The board did not name Prince, but the Star Tribune reports he was identified as “Patient No. 1” and his longtime friend and bodyguard Kirk Johnson as “Patient No. 2.”
Schulenberg initially told the board he didn’t know painkillers he prescribed for Johnson were intended for Prince. But his story changed last August when he met with board authorities and discussed one clinic visit.
“Patient No. 2 initially asked for a controlled substance for Patient No. 1, but (Schulenberg) declined,” according to the board. “Patient No. 2 then asked for a controlled substance for Patient No. 2, and (Schulenberg) issued a prescription for a controlled substance.”
Prince was 57 when he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park studio home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016. No one was criminally charged in his death, and the source of the counterfeit pills that killed him remains unknown. Authorities said it was likely Prince didn’t know he was taking the synthetic opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin.
Schulenberg treated Prince in the weeks before his death. Claims against Schulenberg were permanently dismissed in November, along with claims against Schulenberg’s former employer. Both sides agreed to the dismissals, The Associated Press reported.
Authorities said Schulenberg admitted prescribing oxycodone, a different opioid, to Prince’s bodyguard Johnson in the days before Prince died, knowing the drug would go to Prince. Schulenberg disputed that allegation, although he paid $30,000 in 2018 to settle a federal civil violation alleging the drug was prescribed illegally.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Prince’s family members has been quietly dismissed in recent months, the AP reported last month. Johnson was deposed during the wrongful death litigation, but refused to answer nearly all of the questions, according to a transcript.
Schulenberg’s attorney, Amy Conners, declined comment to the AP about the medical board’s discipline on Monday.