The California Attorney General announced the arraignment and surrender of Dr. Po Long Lew for unlawfully prescribing sedatives and muscle relaxants to his patients without a medical purpose.
Dr. Lew allegedly prescribed benzodiazepines such as Xanax, and carisoprodols such as Soma without first completing a legitimate physical exam of his patients and without his patients demonstrating a medical need.
He was arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court. Dr. Lew is charged with ten counts of Unlawful Prescribing Without Medical Purpose, in violation of Health & Safety Code Section 11153.
Working out of his medical practice in Rosemead, the complaint alleges that between December 2018 and October 2019, Dr. Lew prescribed the muscle relaxant Soma, and two sedatives, Xanax and Ativan to patients individually or in combinations of two of the three medications. Benzodiazepines (sedatives) and carisoprodols (muscle relaxants) are known to cause a dangerous drug interaction when taken with opioids.
They are especially dangerous because each of the medications depress the central nervous system and a person’s ability to breathe. The three medications together are known to those addicted to prescription medication as the “Holy Trinity,” and are highly sought out on the street.
The case stems from an investigation conducted by the California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA). Through the DMFEA, the Attorney General’s office works to protect Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who perpetuate fraud on the Medi-Cal program.
DMFEA also investigates and prosecutes those responsible for abuse, neglect, and fraud committed against elderly and dependent adults in the state. DMFEA regularly works with whistleblowers, the California Department of Health Care Services, and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.