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Murder trials begin in US against two high opioid prescribers

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4827 (Published 08 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4827
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

A new stage in the US authorities’ crackdown against high prescribers of opioids has opened with the murder trials in California and Florida of doctors who are directly accused of killing patients who died of overdoses after taking prescribed drugs.

Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, a Los Angeles area physician, is charged with three counts of second degree murder over the deaths in 2009 of three male patients aged 21, 25, and 28, alongside several felony counts of prescribing drugs to people unnecessarily.

Gerald Klein, 81, is charged in Florida with first degree murder in the overdose related death of Joey Bartolucci, 24, who died in bed after taking Xanax and hydromorphone prescribed at Klein’s East Coast Pain Clinic in West Palm Beach. Klein is one of 13 doctors and 19 others charged with various offences after a 2010 federal operation against a “pill mill” empire run by twin brothers, Jeffrey and Christopher George, which prescribed over 20 million oxycodone …

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