Doctor Charged in Deadly Sale of Unneeded Pain Pill Scripts

opioid epidemic, big pharma
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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey doctor was indicted Thursday on charges that he sold prescriptions for addictive opioid painkillers to people who had no medical need for them, including one man who died from an overdose.

Dr. Byung Kang, of Little Falls, was charged with one count of “strict liability” for the drug-induced death of 26-year-old Michael Justice, of Clifton. Justice’s mother had called Kang 18 months earlier threatening to call police if he didn’t stop prescribing her son oxycodone, according to a statement from Attorney General Christopher Porrino.

Kang’s attorney said he hadn’t yet reviewed the indictment that also charges Kang with money laundering, tax fraud and drug distribution. Kang’s wife and receptionist, Soo, also was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and tax-related counts.

“Doctors are supposed to preserve health and life, but Dr. Kang allegedly turned his back on all medical and ethical standards, not to mention all standards of human decency,” Porrino said. “By indiscriminately peddling this dangerous painkiller – which has been the gateway to so much opiate addiction, misery and death – Dr. Kang allegedly caused the death of a vulnerable young man and put himself on a par with every street-corner drug dealer.”

Kang sold 90-count prescriptions for 30 milligram oxycodone pills for $150 to $200 to numerous patients who didn’t have a medical need, Porrino said.

He was first arrested last May and charged with illegally distributing oxycodone after an investigation by the state and Drug Enforcement Administration. He entered a consent order with the state Board of Medical Examiners in July prohibiting him from practicing until further action.

“Unfortunately, this is another example of a doctor who was allegedly more concerned with his financial health than the health of his patients,” said Carl Kotowski, special agent in charge of the DEA’s New Jersey division.

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