Greedy Doctors Who Overprescribe Drugs Getting Their Due
The law strikes back at doctors profiting from addiction
You’d think we’d heard the last of greedy doctors lacking a conscience who prescribe Vicodin and the like to addicts, who ignore their Hippocratic oath and don’t care that they’re big contributors to the pill epidemic that has swept the country in the last few years. Who knows if news of their arrests and jail terms has scared others like them into stopping this dastardly practice. But last month, on each coast, a doctor has met his comeuppance for overprescribing drugs.
On the west coast, according to the L.A. Times, Dr. Andrew Sun was finally indicted two years after his practice was raided, “for allegedly turning his East Los Angeles and San Gabriel clinics into lucrative mills where he doled out prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other widely abused medications in exchange for cash.”
Remember my post about sizzurp, or purple drank in April? The cough medicine that’s an ingredient of that drink is one of the things the 78-year-old doctor was overprescribing, along with Xanax and Vicodin, to undercover agents who showed no medical need.
“If you want to insist on getting such a strong medicine, I’ll give it to you,” Sun allegedly told one agent after debating whether she needed Vicodin. “I’m just a doctor. I’m not God, OK, so I cannot say no to something that you want to do…. I can only advise you not to, but if you want to do it … I can’t say no.”
And so he didn’t, issuing almost 5,000 prescriptions in one year, and depositing over $1 million into 44 bank accounts over four years. Sun was also charged with money laundering.
On the east coast, Stan Xuhui Li, a New York doctor who ran a weekend pain management clinic, is finally going to trial for his actions with 20 patients from 2004 to 2011. You may remember one of his “patients” I wrote about who killed four people in a drugstore while on a mission to steal narcotics. That man is now serving life without parole. Li is charged with giving prescription drugs to people he knew were abusing drugs, even though the people’s doctors and relatives warned him against it. At least two people died from overdosing.
Li’s lawyer is arguing that his client was deceived by patients and tried to wean some off drugs, but the assistant district attorney basically said, and I paraphrase here, that the evidence is overwhelming illustrating how despicable his actions were.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at how much money these doctors made, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I guess greed doesn’t discriminate. But how much money did these men need to live comfortably, and what made them think they could get away with it?
It’s a shame that it takes so long to bring cases like these to trial. Wouldn’t you think they’d rush them through? Find the funds to change the system?
Stay tuned for my personal experience visiting a pain management doctor.