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San Diego Union Tribune
Psychiatrist agrees to pay $145K to settle overprescription allegations
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Dr. Prakash Bhatia prescribed drugs without legitimate purpose and outside the course of his practice
By City News Service
April 30, 2020

Prakash Bhatia - psychiatrist

Prakash Bhatia – psychiatrist

A local psychiatrist has paid $145,000 to resolve allegations that he over-prescribed opioids to patients over the course of several years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

Dr. Prakash Bhatia, who previously owned and operated Progressive Health and Wellness in El Cajon, wrote prescriptions for hydromorphone, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl and oxymorphone between March 2013 and December 2017 “without a legitimate medical purpose and/or outside the usual course of his professional practice, in violation of the Controlled Substances Act,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.

Prosecutors said Bhatia also prescribed those medications in combination with depressants, “which are known to increase the risk of abuse, addiction and overdose.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration initiated the investigation into Bhatia’s conduct.

“By holding the medical community accountable for improperly writing opioid prescriptions, the DEA is ensuring that San Diegans are safe from illicit prescribers who enable the abuse of prescription drugs for financial benefit,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery.