ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque nurse practitioner has been charged with killing three patients for prescribing drugs to patients who asked for them but shouldn’t have been getting them.
Federal drug enforcement agents have been looking into 59-year old Andrei Marchenko for about two years after accusations that Marchenko was too loose with painkiller prescriptions.
Thursday, the New Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announced its filed criminal charges against Marchenko, accusing him of three counts of involuntary manslaughter and Medicaid fraud resulting in death.
“He was basically a drug dealer with a license to kill,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas in an interview with KRQE News 13 Thursday.
A nurse practitioner, Marchenko once worked out of Medicus Family Clinic in northeast Albuquerque, on Montgomery near Juan Tabo.
Investigators believe Marchenko prescribed painkillers like oxycodone and other powerful sedatives to patients who asked for them when they didn’t need them. “We have three individuals who lost their life,” said Balderas, speaking of Marchenko’s case.
The charges against Marchenko comes two-year after federal investigators first began looking into the case.
After federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency contacted Marchenko in April 2017, the nurse practitioner voluntary gave up his license to prescribe controlled substances.
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office believes Marchenko spent years overprescribing oxycodone, alprazolam and other medications to patients without checking their medical history.
In the documents, investigators layout how Marchenko didn’t bother to do background checks on patients asking for painkillers or check with their health care providers to even confirm they had the injured and conditions they claimed to have.
In one case, Marchenko is accused of continuing to prescribe pain killers to the sisters of a dead patient. Investigators believe the patient died in part as a result of the prescriptions Marchenko wrote for her.
“This is us ratcheting up the level of accountability not only to distributors, but also to people who do prescribe these medications,” said Balderas.
Marchenko is also charged for two overdoses where the patients didn’t die. Altogether his charges carry more than 60 years in prison.