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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
United States v. Tran Trong Cuong M.D.
Citation:18 F. 3d 1132 (4th Cir. 1994)
Defendant was a physician licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration and authorized to prescribed controlled substances. He had prescribed controlled substances to a total of 30 patients between April 1989 and January 1992. 1,711 prescriptions were written to those 30 individuals during the time. A pharmacist testified that he called the defendant to warn him that his patient was getting controlled substances from another doctor and an inspector from the Virginia Department of Health professions warned the defendant that he was being conned into prescribing narcotics to known drug users.
Seven of the defendant’s former patients testified that the defendant’s examinations were perfunctory and they faked vague illness to get prescriptions for their addiction. Defendant charged $35 for issuing the prescription and his files show that his patients were on controlled substances for years for things like headaches, backaches, and other subjective ailments. Two undercover officers went into his office and both got narcotics prescriptions. One went over 8 times in two months- each time the defendant spend no more than five minutes with him and prescribed the controlled substance each time. An expert witness testified that after a few days, the use of those narcotics for most of the complaints shown in the files would do no medical good and possibly be harmful and lead to addiction.
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