BREAKING: “Pill Mill” Doctor Sentenced to 21 Years

MOBILE, AL (WKRG) Dr. Xiulu Ruan will spend 21 years behind bars and pay more than $10 million in restitution. Ruan was sentenced Friday for his part in a large “pill mill” ring. A judge also granted the defense recommendation to allow Ruan to serve his time in a prison closest to Atlanta.

Thursday a judge sentenced his partner Dr. John Patrick Couch. Both Mobile-based pain doctors were found guilty of running a “pill mill” operation.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Callie Granade has sentenced Dr. John Patrick Couch of Pain Physicians Specialists to 240 months in prison, to be served concurrently. The judge recommended that Couch serve his sentence in a prison that offers drug addiction treatment and mental health services that is as close to Mobile as possible.

Couch will also have to pay millions in restitution to a number of different institutions and patients.

The sentencing comes after a seven-week trial with more than 80 witnesses that resulted in a conviction on February.

Patrick Couch was convicted of over prescribing narcotics and healthcare fraud in February, 2017.


Ruan and Couch were found to be at the middle of a massive conspiracy that included nurses, pharmacists, drug sales-reps and drug company executives.

Prosecutors claim the two doctors grossed $20 million between 2012 and 2015 when their clinic was raided and shut down.

In 2014 alone, investigators found the doctors wrote a combined 66,892 prescriptions — equaling a rate of one prescription every four minutes.

Couch and Ruan were originally accused of prescribing the painkillers that led to the deaths of four patients, but those charges were dropped by prosecutors.

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