Doctor Sentenced to 33 Months for Over-Prescribing Dangerous Drugs
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 03, 2009|
Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that on Thursday, December 3, 2009, Dr. Narendra Kumar Agrawal, M.D., age 59, a doctor who lives and formerly operated a medical office in Galion, Ohio, was sentenced in the courtroom of United States District Court Judge David D. Dowd in Akron, Ohio. Agrawal pled guilty on October 13, 2009 to five counts of a Superseding Indictment, specifically:
Count 2: engaging in a scheme between June 1, 2007 and November 24, 2008, whereby he repeatedly, unlawfully, intentionally, and knowingly dispensed and distributed hydrocodone, a Schedule III narcotic drug controlled substance, to various individuals, for a total of approximately 188,662 tablets, outside the usual course of professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
Count 3: engaging in a scheme between June 1, 2007 and November 24, 2008, whereby he repeatedly, unlawfully, intentionally, and knowingly dispensed and distributed alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, to various individuals, for a total of approximately 229,305 tablets, outside the usual course of professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
Count 4: knowingly and intentionally opening, leasing, renting, using, or maintaining a building, room, enclosure, or other place, namely Rapid Response Medical Center, 815 Harding Way West, Galion, Ohio, for the purpose of unlawfully distributing a controlled substance, specifically, by using said building, room, enclosure, or other place to issue invalid and illegal prescriptions for Schedule II through IV controlled substances.
Count 109/110: illegally distributing quantities of oxycodone.
The sentence imposed upon Agrawal was as follows: a term of 33 months' imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently; a term of three years of supervised release on Counts 4, 109, and 110; a term of two years of supervised release on Count 2; and a term of one year of supervised release on Count 3. The Court further ordered that Agrawal forfeit $278,646.09 in proceeds obtained from his illegal drug trafficking scheme, and imposed a $500.00 special assessment. In the plea agreement, the defendant and the government agreed to recommend a sentence of 33 months' imprisonment.
The defendant, a doctor specializing in internal medicine, used his “Rapid Response Medical Center” to engage, repeatedly, in the illegal distribution of controlled substances to persons seeking to abuse those drugs. Agrawal issued thousands of prescriptions for hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), and alprazolam (Xanax) products outside the usual course of professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. He issued prescriptions for such controlled substances during approximately 80 percent of the office visits that he conducted—far in excess of the number of controlled substance prescriptions typically issued in a legitimate internal medicine practice—and he frequently correlated the amount of money he charged his “patients” to the relative strength of the controlled substance they sought. After a period of time, most of the local pharmacies in Galion, Ohio, stopped accepting prescriptions for controlled substances written by Agrawal, therefore Agrawal frequently told the persons to whom he prescribed controlled substances to present their prescriptions to be filled at pharmacies located out of town.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rebecca Lutzko and James Morford, following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Cleveland, Ohio and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Cleveland and Mansfield, with the assistance of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office (Sheriff Ronny Shawber) and the Galion Police Department (Chief Brian Satterfield).