Doctor Sold Prescriptions at Starbucks

It was never our intention to to become a watchdog website that would use our outlet to humiliate unethical doctors criminals. Yet recently we are reading some stories that compel us to provide as much of a "comeuppance" as we can to shady and unethical doctors like Alvin Ming-Czech Yee of Mission Viejo (medical practice was in Irvine). This "doctor" sat in a Starbucks Coffee Shop and sold prescriptions for OxyContin -  also known as"legal heroin" (or also known as "the prescription drug that is shattering families in record numbers)." Again, let us reiterate that Dr. Yee would perform his examinations in Starbucks. the "examinations" would last about a minute. Yee would meet up with a dozen people per night in Starbucks throughout Orange County.  The "examinations" drug deals consisted of taking blood pressure and asking patients addicts to bend over to touch their toes.  Yee laughed and joked with patients — and undercover DEA agents — and told them business was good, prosecutors allege. Yee was brazen but…

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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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Doctor’s Role in Fatal Prescription Drug Overdose

In Orange County, California, coroner records show that accidental prescription drug overdoses are on the rise, from 130 in 2006 to 266 in 2009.  One of these fatalities was Jarrod Barber of Laguna Niguel, who overdosed at age 19 on a combination of: Opana - a powerful narcotic painkiller Seroquel - an anti-psychotic medication and Klonopin -  (Clonazepam) an anti-anxietymedication According to a report in The Orange County Register, Barber began to smoke excessive amounts of marijuana and abuse prescription drugs following the cancer death of a close friend.   He obtained prescriptions for Clonazepam and Seroquel from Dr. Paul D. Corona, a Laguna Niguel doctor who has built a practice by writing prescriptions for mood-stabilizing drugs. Corona, a general practitioner who now specializes in the treatment of mood disorders, is a self-described "guru" who promotes the use of mood-stabilizers for the treatment of substance abusers.  A former radio personality and author, Corona's message is that psychotropic medications can be used to treat a wide variety of physical and mental…

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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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Increase in Doctors Facing Criminal Prosecution Related to Drug Abuse

Dr. Conrad Murray is currently facing trial for involuntary manslaughter for administering a powerful anesthetic that led to the death of Michael Jackson.  Murray is part of a growing trend of doctors who are criminally prosecuted for medical malpractice.  According to Reuters news service, fewer than 40 doctors faced criminal charges for malpractice between 1809 and 2000.  Since 2001, there have been at least 37 cases – almost as many as in the previous 200 years. The majority of the cases since 2001 involved doctors who have overprescribed prescription painkillers and other controlled substances.  Many doctors have been charged under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which allows prosecution of physicians who knowingly prescribe medication outside the usual course of professional practice or for non-medical purposes. Prior to the case of Dr. Murray, the most famous prosecution of a doctor involved the death of model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith.  Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Smith's doctor, was charged with supplying the celebrity with dangerous prescription drugs that eventually…

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Survey Finds Illegal Drug Use on the Rise

A new U.S. government survey has found that the abuse of illegal and prescription drugs is currently on the rise.  About 22.6 million people over the age of 12 used illegal drugs in 2010, representing a staggering 9% of the nation's population.  This is up from 8% in 2008. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health included 67,500 American aged 12 and above and covered the use of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens and some types of commonly abused prescription drugs. These findings were released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): •    Marijuana tops the list of frequently used illicit drugs with a reported 17 million users.  This is an increase of 3 million users since 2007. •    The nonmedical use of prescription drugs (including painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives) was reported by 7 million people. •    Cocaine use was reported by 1.5 million people.  This is a decrease of about 1 million users since 2006. •    Use of hallucinogens was reported by 1.2…

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Los Angeles OxyContin Pill Mills Raided

The pill mills of Florida have generally been the primary focus of a of media attention. However, we've seen some big OxyContin related busts in the southland of California as well: Smuggling Ring Took Pills Into Mexico Newport Coast Doctor Gets 230 Year Sentence Rowland Hights Dr. Tseng - Doctor of Death Sued by Family of Overdose Victim This week Los Angeles has some news on the Oxy Crackdown because  four medical clinics that were suspected of illegally dispensing prescriptions were raided. Investigators determined that the San Fernando Valley clinics have been operating as pill mills, catering to addicts seeking narcotic painkillers and other prescription drugs.  The raids were carried out by local, state and federal investigators from the LAPD, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the California Department of Justice, the IRS and the FBI. The investigation was prompted by several recent overdoses in the area, including the overdose death of a 51-year-old man who had obtained prescriptions for several different medications from one of the clinics.  Pharmacy bottles…

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