SALT LAKE CITY -- The attorneys spun the numbers Tuesday on whether a Brigham City doctor was No. 1 for prescribing a narcotic painkiller for four years.
The trial is well into its fourth week in federal court for Dewey MacKay, 64, charged with 86 counts of felony drug distribution for allegedly doling out pills with no legitimate medical purpose. The doctor is accused of prescribing more than 1.9 million pills of hydrocodone and nearly 1.6 million pills of oxycodone between June 1, 2005, and Oct. 30, 2009, from his Brigham City office.
Marvin Sims, director of the controlled substance database kept by state regulators to track prescriptions, testified that MacKay was No. 1 in the state for prescribing hydrocodone, typically Lortab, from 2005 through 2008.
The statistics Sims oversees for the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing counted 4,912 prescriptions written by MacKay for hydrocodone in 2005, 5,123 in 2006, 4,929 in 2007, and 5,036 in 2008. The total dipped to 3,020 prescriptions in 2009, dropping MacKay to a No. 3 ranking.
But under cross-examination from MacKay's defense team, Sims acknowledged the statistics he was asked by prosecutors to compile could be tabulated other ways.
MacKay ranked in the middle of the top 10 for prescriptions issued in the state for another narcotic, oxycodone, according to Sims' numbers. Sims agreed as defense attorney Nathan Crane noted that MacKay's number of pills per prescription for oxycodone, typically Percocet, was less than half that prescribed by the others in the top 10.
And figuring MacKay's pills-per-prescription ratio for hydrocodone, Sims agreed that instead of ranking No. 1, MacKay would rank anywhere from sixth to ninth.
Sims was the last witness for the prosecution as the U.S. Attorney's Office rested its case after calling witnesses since July 20.
The defense then began its case late Tuesday afternoon with MacKay's wife, Kathleen. She ended the day's testimony talking about office procedures during a period in 2007, when she worked as MacKay's office manager briefly. She will return to the stand today, followed by other office staff. The defense is expected to call witnesses through much of next week.
Lead defense counsel Peter Stirba has listed close to 90 potential witnesses to be called, including U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a Brigham City native, as a character witness.