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California doctor investigated for federal drug crimes

When people think about drug crimes, they typically think about people selling illegal substances on street corners or transporting drugs across state lines. While this certainly makes up a good portion of the drug cases in the U.S., it is far from the full story.

California residents may be interested to read about a doctor and pain management specialist who may be facing charges for federal crimes following a recent investigation, even though at this point authorities have only stated that the doctor is being investigated for violating a state law prohibiting doctors from prescribing medication without good cause.

According to news reports, state medical board investigators and federal drug agents raided a California pain management specialist's office in order to seize his medical records. Agents were looking for the records of various patients who investigators believe may have died from overdoses. Last year, a Los Angeles Times investigation into a growing trend of prescription drug overdose deaths featured the doctor and his clinic.

Despite the raid and on-going investigation, the doctor has not been arrested or charged with a federal offense or a state regulatory offense at this time. However, according to an affidavit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the doctor wrote an average of 37 prescriptions a day. Undercover federal agents posing as patients also claim that they were able to secure prescriptions for highly addictive drugs without every having the doctor examine them.

There have been a number of articles written about the "over" medication of the American patient. The difficulty in the present case, however, is that pain management is a complex medical specialty. Making matters even more difficult, the specialty requires the prescription of highly addictive narcotics. In such cases, establishing a doctor's fault can be difficult.

Los Angeles Times, "Authorities raid pain doctor's offices," Lisa Girion and Scott Clover, March 22, 2013

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