Dr. Feelgood Charged with Murder in Patient Overdose Deaths

A Southern California doctor who had earned the nickname "Dr. Feelgood" for prescribing large quantities of prescription drugs has been charged with murder for the overdose deaths of three patients.  Lisa (Hsiu-Ying) Tseng was taken into custody at her office located in a Rowland Heights strip mall and led away in handcuffs.  She will be arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court and is being held on $3 million bail.  If convicted, Dr. Tseng could be sentenced to a state prison term of 45 years to life. According to authorities, Tseng wrote prescriptions for narcotic painkillers including OxyContin and Vicodin and other potent drugs like Xanax and Adderall at a rate of about 25 per day for the past three years.  This amounted to more than 27,000 prescriptions.  Her patients were asked a minimum number of questions and were not given thorough medical examinations. Tseng's arrest is the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency that was prompted by the overdose deaths of three healthy…

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Purdue Pharma Executives Fight OxyContin Sentence

In a time of upheaval in our society, this case could be seen as an opportunity for our judicial system to "walk the talk" of our Government's recent claims to be enforcing Corporate Responsibility. In 2007, three top executives at Purdue Pharma (maker of OxyContin) were criminally charged for their role in the marketing of the addictive narcotic painkiller.  The executives were each convicted of a criminal misdemeanor under a somewhat obscure law known as the "responsible corporate officer" doctrine and could have faced a year in prison.  Instead, former CEO Michael Friedman, former medical director Paul Goldenheim and former general counsel Howard Udell agreed to deals that included three years of probation and fines totaling $34.5 million.   As part of their plea bargain, the Purdue Pharma trio also agreed to a sanction prohibiting them from doing business with Medicare and other taxpayer-funded healthcare programs for 20 years.  This sanction effectively bars them from working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.  Following legal maneuvering by lawyers for the…

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OxyContin Ring Sells 1 Million Pills on the Street

In Los Angeles, 14 people have been charged with running a scheme to obtain OxyContin pills through insurance fraud and distribute them on the street for millions of dollars in profits. The drug distribution ring included two doctors and the operators of a clinic owned by Lake Medical Group.  Members of the ring are suspected of reselling more than 1 million OxyContin pills on the street. According to federal officials, the clinic's doctors wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the powerful painkiller and billed Medicare and Medical.  Most of the prescriptions were written for patients who did not need a painkiller. Members of the ring are also alleged to have committed identity theft and used stolen Medicare beneficiary information to obtain OxyContin.  Among those charged were Dr. Morris Halfnon, aged 88, Dr. Eleanor Santiago, aged 73, and pharmacist Theodore Yoon. The clinic used recruiters, referred to as "cappers," who offered Medicare and Medi-Cal patients up to $500 to fill prescriptions for OxyContin at local pharmacies, including Yoon's.  Runners escorted patients to…

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Doctors Call for an End to Long-Term Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers

In response to the growing problem of prescription painkiller abuse in the U.S., three California doctors are calling on their colleagues to rethink the use of narcotic prescription drugs as medication for patients who experience chronic pain.  In the U.S., opioid painkillers including OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are now prescribed more than any other drugs.  According to the doctors, up to 20% of patient visits to physicians result in a prescription for one of these opioid drugs. Dr. Deborah Grady, Dr. Seth Berkowitz and Dr. Mitchell Katz have published their plea as an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The doctors state that 20-40% of adults report non-cancer chronic pain and that opioids have become the most common form of treatment even though few studies are available that examine the use of these drugs for the long-term treatment of pain.  In fact, a large body of statistical evidence shows the harm these drugs can do.  According to Dr. Katz, the use of prescription opioid painkillers results in more…

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Positive News on the Opiate Crackdown in Ohio

In an article forwarded to us (6 men charged in Ohio Pill Mill Ring) , we see that Ohio is doing their part to crackdown on the OxyContin epidemic.  Authorities in Ohio are prosecuting six people involved in a pill mill in Waverly.  This is encouraging because you can read how unsavory the behaviors of the pill mill operators were: The indictment alleges that the clinic was owned and operated by Nancy and Lester Sadler and Lisa Clevenger. The clinic operated as a “pill mill” by selling prescriptions for controlled substances (usually oxycodone), without a legitimate medical need for the prescriptions. Many of the prescriptions were openly sold and diverted. Blank prescriptions forms were sold so the buyer could use or resell the prescriptions. Additionally, the defendants allegedly created fake medical records and prescriptions for individuals who were not actual customers of the clinic in order to divert additional prescriptions. The defendants also allegedly used Banks’ DEA registration number and fake names to order large quantities of controlled substances,…

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Doctor Faces 230-year Sentence for Prescription Drug Dealing

In today's changing climate of addiction, where prescription drug abuse has surpassed illegal drug abuse, the drug dealers are often members of the medical profession. This again became evident this week in a Los Angeles federal courtroom when Dr. Nazar Al Bussum pled guilty to drug distribution charges. The 72-year-old geriatric physician, who lives in the exclusive community of Newport Coast but operated clinics in Downy and Los Angeles, could be sentenced to as many as 230 years in prison and fined up to $11.5 million. Al Bussum is charged with writing prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, codeine cough syrup and anti-anxiety medication for patients who had no medical need for the drugs. The majority of the prescriptions were for oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax – all highly addictive substances. Federal prosecutors estimate that he wrote more than 60,000 prescriptions between 2007 and 2010, making as much as $1 million per year by prescribing drugs that often ended up being sold on the street. Federal investigators targeted Al Bussum after his…

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Famous Rock Musician Succumbs to Opiate Addiction and Robs Pharmacy on Tour

In an almost unbelievably tragic story, the destructive grip  of OxyContin is yet again displayed as a touring rock star robs a pharmacy in a taxi to get OxyContin. Michael Todd was scheduled to play the Comcast Center in Mansfield Massachussetts on the night of July 10th when he went into an Attleboro Walgreens and "held it up" (with a bomb threat  - displayed on his blackberry) for OxyContin.  He eventually was given oxycodone and left in a taxi getaway car. Why Would Someone Do This? Before you dismiss this as a laughable act of a crazy person - we would ask you to consider what kind of suffering Michael Todd might have been experiencing due to OxyContin addiction. As part of the  powerful and artistically lauded rock band Coheed and Cambria, Michael had worked his way up through the ranks of the rock circuit and acheived rock stardom status.   That fact alone is the culmination of a dream shared by millions and should have left him feeling…

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