NY Doctor Convicted for Overprescribing, Selling Meds
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NY Doctor Convicted for Overprescribing, Selling Meds


Ugh. Yet another pain management doctor has been convicted for selling narcotic prescriptions to 20 patients—and two of those patients went on to have fatal overdoses.

Stan Li, 60, of New York City, was found guilty by a Manhattan Supreme Court for manslaughter, drug trafficking, and grand larceny, according to Bridget Brennan, the NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

Li was arrested in 2011 after a three-year investigation triggered by patients’ families and community complaints about his “prescribing practices.”

The Doctor is In Alright

Reportedly Li would see up to 100 patients per day, and lots of his clients would “line up waiting for his clinic to open in hopes of buying prescriptions for drugs like oxycodone, Vicodin, Valium and Xanax.”

One patient, Michael Cornetta, got prescriptions for upwards of one year, despite the fact that he had gone to the ER twice for overdoses. He died of an overdose about 18 months after Li gave him his first rx.

Li was convicted of reckless endangerment in the second degree in connection with Cornetta’s prescription, the statement said. He was also convicted of manslaughter for the deaths of 37-year-old Joseph Haeg and 21-year-old Nicholas Rappold, the prosecutor’s office said.

Sadly, These Stories are Becoming Run of the Pill Mill

Of course, this is far from an isolated incident in today’s medical world. Opiate addiction is on the rise everywhere, and some doctors are even prescribing those types of meds to pregnant women. Back in March, Dr. John F. Petraglia, a doctor in California’s Orange County, was accused of failing to get “sufficient information about his patients’ substance-abuse histories before prescribing them multiple painkillers or sedatives.”

And the accusation against Petraglia was actually filed the same week as one that materialized against a different Orange County doctor, Van Vu of Huntington Beach, who is “accused of negligently prescribing drugs that led to three patients’ deaths.” Orange County Superior Court records show “Petraglia has been a defendant in four medical malpractice cases since 2011, three of which accuse him of overprescribing drugs.” Of those three, one was dismissed, one was settled and one is still open.

What Are They Teaching in Med School These Days?

Why the rise in shady doctors prescribing often unnecessary medications? One doctor reflects in this NewYorker.com post that the boom in the prescribing of narcotics by outpatient doctors is at least partially sparked by the pharmaceutical companies selling these drugs. Between 1999 and 2010, sales of these “opioid analgesics”—medications like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin—quadrupled.

Don’t Become a Statistic

What can we do? That’s a good question. A safe bet would be to ask your doctor to prescribe a different, non-habit-forming medication if you’re already prone to addiction. Otherwise, pretty please, just take them as prescribed.

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and CNN.com. Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.