Hardly a day goes by without news of the current opioid crisis facing the country. As the crisis grows, more and more doctors are being investigated and accused of illegally writing prescriptions, over proscribing opioids, and illegally selling opioids. Some doctors have even faced involuntary manslaughter charges when patients have died from opioid overdose.
Recently, a Covina doctor was convicted and sentenced to more that 13 years in federal prison when he pleaded guilty to illegally distributing oxycodone. Oxycodone is a painkiller also known as Oxycontin, Norco, or Vicodin.
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, investigators discovered that the Covina doctor, Daniel Cham, met with patients late at night on weekends, and post-dated their prescriptions for later week days. He also wrote prescriptions for thousands of pills in the names of drug traffickers in Oregon, depositing payments for the prescriptions in bank accounts with different names. Ultimately, Cham's illegal prescription writing and opioid distribution was discovered when he wrote prescriptions for an undercover agent on three separate occasions at his La Puente office. The investigation also connected two deaths of young people in Oregon who gained access to oxycodone Chan had proscribed.
Under California Law, a doctor found illegally proscribing or selling opioids can face a number of criminal charges. Not only could they face illegal distribution charges, but under California Health , it is illegal for a doctor to write a prescription without a legitimate medical purpose. Penalties for violating Health and Safety Code 11153 are serious and can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. If convicted of illegally writing prescriptions, a doctor can lose his or her medical license and face up to a year in state or county jail and a $20,000 fine. If a patient dies, a doctor may face charges of criminal medical negligence, which can be prosecuted as involuntary manslaughter. However, to prove involuntary manslaughter, the doctor must have acted with reckless disregard of substantial risks to the patient and those risks caused the death of the patient.
If you have been accused of illegally distributing opioids, illegally writing prescriptions, or criminal negligence, these charges can seriously impact your reputation and your future. At the Kann California Defense Group we understand this situation and our experienced legal team is dedicated to fighting for your legal rights and to seeing that you get the best possible outcome for your case. These cases are very fact specific, and our attorneys carefully analyze your case to help determine your best defenses. Please call us at (888) 744-7730 or contact us online today if you need answers concerning your legal questions.