Federal jury acquits Columbus doctor in diet pill case

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Dr. Michael Alex White of Columbus was found not guilty of six counts that he illegally dispensed diet pills to patients who didn’t need them.
A federal jury returned that verdict Oct. 23 after a two-day trial in Oxford.
“We are obviously happy with the verdict of the jury last week,” said his attorney, Rodney A. Ray of Columbus.
White “was steadfast in his position that he did nothing wrong, had a strong belief in the system and decided to put his faith in that system, more particularly, in the hands of 12 jurors,” Ray added.
White, 62, was indicted last March on eight federal counts accusing him of recklessly selling or distributing controlled drugs like Phentermine.
Prior to trial, the government dismissed two counts against him – knowingly prescribing controlled substances for patients without determining that they needed them, and lying to federal agents about prescribing and having sex with a patient to whom he’d prescribed controlled substances.
If convicted on the remaining counts, he faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
Ray said White, who has practiced more than 30 years, thought he had the right to make the decisions he did for a drug he considers safe to use in weight loss and weight management.
With his acquittal, White is working to re-start his practice, his attorney added.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com