Doctor is fined $4648 for prescribing Prince with fentanyl

Doctor is fined $4648 for prescribing Prince with pain medication 50 times stronger than heroin before he died of an overdose

  • Pop mega star Prince, 57, died of an accidental overdose in  Minnesota in 2016
  • Doctor said he didn’t know the prescribed tablets were intended for Prince
  • No one was charged in Prince’s death and police said it was unlikely the popstar knew the pills were fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin 

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. 

A photo from Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California in 1997 shows Prince during a performance 

This undated file frame from video shows Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg. Schulenberg, a Minnesota doctor accused of illegally prescribing an opioid painkiller for Prince a week before the musician died April 21, 2016, from a fentanyl overdose has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation, according to court documents

Haunting images released after the singer’s death on April 21, 2016 show the inside of Prince’s Paisley Park compound including the elevator where he overdosed on Fentanyl – with bundles of cash, drugs and a bag labelled ‘opium’ inside his vault

‘Patient #2 initially asked for a controlled substance for Patient #1, but (Schulenberg) declined,’ according to the board. ‘Patient #2 then asked for a controlled substance for Patient #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. 

In this image made from surveillance video provided Thursday, April 19, 2018, by the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, as part of an investigative file into Prince’s death, the superstar, center, enters a clinic of Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg on April 20, 2016, the day before he was found dead of an accidental fentanyl overdose

A photo released by Carver County Court in 2016 shows some of the medication which was being used by the popstar before his death on April 21 in Minnesota

Claims against Schulenberg were permanently dismissed in November, along with claims against Schulenberg’s former employer. 

Both sides agreed to the dismissals.

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, it was 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 to comment about the medical board’s discipline on Monday.


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