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San Diego area psychiatrist Prakash Bhatia, M.D., has paid $145,000 to resolve allegations that he overprescribed opioids. Dr. Bhatia previously owned and operated Progressive Health and Wellness in El Cajon, California, practicing pain medicine.

The settlement stems from an investigation that the Drug Enforcement Administration initiated into whether Dr. Bhatia improperly prescribed opioids to his patients at Progressive Health and Wellness (PHW) in violation of the civil provisions of the Controlled Substances Act.

Pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act, health care providers may write prescriptions for opioids only for a legitimate medical purpose while acting in the usual course of their professional practice.

Based on its investigation, the United States alleged that from March 2013 to December 2017, Dr. Bhatia wrote opioid prescriptions at PHW, including for hydromorphone, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl and oxymorphone without a legitimate medical purpose and/or outside the usual course of his professional practice, in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

The United States alleged that Dr. Bhatia also prescribed these medications in combination with depressant medications (including benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants), which are known to increase the risk of abuse, addiction and overdose.

This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dylan M. Aste and George V. Manahan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, with the assistance of agents and investigators from the DEA.

The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.