New York Post
NYC psychiatrist busted for meth possession fighting for his license
By Dean Balsamini
February 29, 2020
A New York City psychiatrist who treated victims and relatives after the 9/11 terror attacks is fighting for his medical license after being busted for trying to sneak a pound of methamphetamine past security checkpoints at Newark Airport.
The California Medical Board is seeking to discipline Dr. Anand Pandya — formerly of Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles — for the Sept. 15, 2016 arrest, in which Customs officers said they found 16.3 ounces of meth concealed in a baby powder container in the doctor’s suitcase, along with 25 hypodermic needles. Pandya had flown in from Germany, medical board documents show.
He pleaded guilty the following April to two drug possession charges, including one for intent to distribute, and was ordered to participate in a pre-trial intervention program, said Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County (NJ) prosecutor’s office. He was released early from the program in December 2017.
While California medical authorities seek to yank Pandya’s privileges, their counterparts in New York have yet to take action against the 52-year-old forensic psychiatry specialist, who has been licensed in the Empire State since 1996.
Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the state Health Department’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) said, “When OPMC learns that another state has taken a disciplinary action against a NYS licensed physician, OPMC immediately opens an investigation and takes appropriate action. When OPMC learns that a physician has been convicted of a crime, OPMC will also take appropriate action.” She refused to say why OPMC has not yet taken action in Pandya’s four-year-old case.
After 9/11, hospitals set up family-assistance centers, which were consolidated within days at the Armory at Lexington Avenue and 26th Street. Pandya told psychiatryonline the volunteer psychiatrists had “hundreds of informal encounters with families” and did formal psychiatric evaluations on 848 people between Sept 12, 2001 and Nov. 20, 2011 when the center closed.
“People were getting help. It’s sad that the doctor resorted to a life of drugs,” said John Feal, whose FealGood Foundation advocates for 9/11 first responders who have fallen ill in the years since the terror attack. “I’m glad he’s no longer serving the 9/11 community. We have enough problems just trying to survive another day.”
Pandya’s LinkedIn page says he is the director of inpatient psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, well-known for its celebrity patients.
Pandya graduated from NYU School Of Medicine in 1995 and did his residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to nydoctorprofile. Pandya, who could not be reached for comment, previously taught at UCLA and USC.