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Donald Siao M.D. faces federal charges that he illegally distributed hydrocodone and oxycodone pills in his medical practice and committed health care fraud.

Siao, 55, of San Jose, is a medical doctor licensed by the state of California who conducted his practice in San Jose. His license authorized him to write prescriptions for Schedule II through V controlled substances for medical care.

A prescription monitoring system identified Siao was a high prescriber, exemplified by a recent year when Siao wrote 8,201 prescriptions for controlled substances, including large quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone and many instances of the dangerous combination of opioid, muscle relaxant, and benzodiazepine known in the drug world as “the holy trinity.”

Undercover law enforcement agents posed as new patients and met with Siao at his medical practice.

During initial visits, the agents complained of pain in vague or general terms. Siao conducted little or no physical examinations. The initial and subsequent visits usually lasted approximately two minutes. In initial visits Siao prescribed hydrocodone or oxycodone, and in follow-up appointments Siao continued to prescribe the same medicine and increased the amounts.

In one example in the complaint, an uncover agent posing as a patient met with Siao at an initial appointment and complained of pain. Following an eight second physical examination, Siao wrote a prescription for 30 pills of Norco, a hydrocodone-acetaminophen combination.

In subsequent visits as short as 2 minutes and 10 seconds, the undercover agent requested larger prescriptions for reasons that included he had given away pills to his employees as work incentives and that he had ran out of pills when he went to a concert. Siao increased the size of the prescriptions, eventually writing a prescription for 90 Norco pills at his last visit.

In another example in the complaint, an undercover agent requested and received a larger prescription of Norco so he could pay back friends with the pills. The agent then requested a prescription for Marinol, explaining he would not take the Marinol but rather would display the prescription at work as a pretext for his positive drug tests, saying “that way it covers the dirty drug test.” Siao replied “gotcha” and wrote the prescription.

The complaint also charges Siao with health care fraud and alleges that on May 9, 2018, he wrote alprazolam and oxycodone prescriptions for a patient without any legitimate medical purpose.