Indian-origin Doctor Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Prescribing Addictive Medicines in U.S.

Devendra Patel contributed to the opioid epidemic by unlawfully prescribing opioids and other prescription narcotics to patients for financial gain.


An Indian origin doctor has pleaded guilty to distributing highly addictive prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone to patients without a medical purpose.

According to the U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson, Northern Nevada cardiologist, Devendrakumar I. Patel, who owns and operates Northeastern Nevada Cardiology, was indicted by a grand jury in December 2017. The U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks accepted the guilty plea.

The statement further said that Patel, 59, contributed to the opioid epidemic by unlawfully prescribing opioids and other prescription narcotics to patients for financial gain. As part of his plea, Patel admitted that between Sept. 2015 and Feb. 2016 he prescribed Oxycodone (such as OxyContin) and Hydrocodone (such as Norco) to patients without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice. These prescriptions were in direct violation of his duty as a long-term licensed medical doctor. His medical license was suspended after his arrest in December 2017.

Patel’s prescribing practices allowed him to see a high volume of patients and easily prescribe and sell the opioids, while not addressing any legitimate medical concerns of his patients.

His sentencing has been scheduled for March 18, 2019. According to the official statement, he can receive up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Patel was arrested on Dec. 12, 2017 on 39-charges of unlawful distribution of prescription opioids and Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

“Dr. Patel is the first person to be charged in Nevada since the formation of the Justice Department’s Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit,” Acting U.S. Attorney Myhre was quoted as saying in an earlier statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to turning the tide of the prescription opioid epidemic that is plaguing our communities. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute individuals who contribute to this scourge.”

“Despite his physician’s oath to do no harm, Dr. Patel recklessly prescribed opioids, for no legitimate medical purpose,” stated FBI SAC Rouse. “The FBI is confident that today’s arrest will send a message to other physicians that are prescribing opioids outside the scope of legitimate medical care.  We are committed to using every tool in our arsenal to battle the opioid crisis in the state of Nevada.”

“Our Country is in the midst of a devastating opioid crisis and DEA is using every resource available to identify the traffickers and facilitators fueling addiction in our communities,” said DEA SAC Downing. “Healthcare professionals who abuse the public’s trust and prescribe or dispense drugs purely for profit are drug dealers, and they’re going to be held accountable.”

According to CDC official data, approximately 115 Americans die every day of opioid-related overdose. In 2016, there were 408 opioid-related deaths in Nevada, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. In 2016, Nevada’s per capita prescription rate for opioids was 87/100 residents. Nevada ranked as the sixth highest state for the number of milligrams of opioids distributed per adult, according to a DEA data. From 2010 to 2016, opioid-related hospitalizations increased by 136% in emergency room encounters and 84% in inpatient admissions. During this time period, 85% of all opioid-related deaths in Nevada were deemed accidents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Study for Nevada.

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