Prescription for the Controlled Substance In Michigan

In People v. Johnson, 111 Mich. App. 383; 314 N.W.2d 631 (1981), the prosecutor charged the defendant with knowingly or intentionally acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge. MCL 333.7407(1)(c); MSA 14.15(7407)(1)(c). The prosecutor's theory of the case was that the defendant obtained a prescription for the controlled substance from his doctor, but altered the number of tablets on that prescription before attempting to obtain the controlled substance at the pharmacy. The defendant moved to exclude the physician's testimony regarding the number of tablets originally prescribed, arguing that the information was protected by the physician-patient privilege. The trial court denied the motion to suppress on the ground that the defendant had waived the privilege by failing to object to the physician's testimony at the preliminary examination. Johnson, supra, 111 Mich. App. 386. On appeal, this Court affirmed the trial court's decision, relying on three separate grounds to support its holding that the privilege did not bar the physician's testimony. First, this Court held that the trial court properly denied the defendant's motion to suppress the physician's testimony because the defendant failed to object to the introduction of that testimony at the preliminary examination. Johnson, 111 Mich. App. at 386-388. Second, the Court held that the privilege did not apply because the proffered testimony related to a communication made by the defendant "'in the furtherance of an unlawful or criminal purpose.'" Johnson, 111 Mich. App. at 390-391, quoting 3 Jones, Evidence (6th ed), 21.29, p 823. Finally, the Court held that, "where the evidence sought is 'demonstrably relevant' to the criminal case at issue, a generalized claim of privilege must yield to the specific need for evidence." Johnson, supra, 111 Mich. App. 389.