A doctor practicing in Munster, Indiana was indicted Monday on allegations he over-prescribed hydrocodone and even had his staff dispense pills to patients while he vacationed in Greece.
Dr. Jay Joshi, a Burr Ridge, Illinois, man who worked as a general practice physician at Prestige Clinic in Munster, was indicted Monday on four counts of dispensing hydrocodone “not prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose, and outside the scope of professional practice,” federal court records show.
Tuesday’s announcement by Thomas Kirsch II, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, comes as the Region grapples with an increasingly fatal opioid epidemic. Kirsch said Tuesday investigators found Joshi issued more than 6,000 prescriptions for controlled substances since April after obtaining data from INSPECT, the state’s prescription monitoring program.
Joshi ranks No. 1 in Lake County and ninth statewide in the number of prescriptions written for controlled substances by DEA registered prescribers, Kirsch said.
“On four separate occasions, Dr. Joshi prescribed controlled substance hydrocodone, which is commonly known as Norco, to an undercover government agent,” Kirsch said. “He did so without conducting appropriate and sometimes even cursory medical examinations.”
Joshi saw as many as 30 to 40 patients per day, signed prescriptions prior to office visits, and instructed staff to complete prescriptions while he vacationed in Greece, Kirsch added. Some local pharmacies refused to fill prescriptions from Dr. Joshi, he said.
In one case, the government agent asked for some Norco for his girlfriend, and Dr. Joshi allegedly prescribed six extra tablets. Joshi allegedly prescribed 60 hydrocodone tablets to a patient at four consecutive monthly visits from July to November 2017.
WGN reported that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana also announced grand jury indictments of drug trafficking and racketeering against seven individuals. These individuals are being accused of having ties to a Chicago street gang known as the Latin Counts a well-known rival of the massive Latin Kings gang.
Kirsch said Joshi self-surrendered this week and later bonded out. As part of his bond, Joshi is no longer allowed to write prescriptions for any controlled substances.
Kirsch said while Joshi may be a huge catch and the center of this investigation, the investigation into over-prescribing doctors in Northwest Indiana is “always ongoing.”
“We’re always concerned about other doctors that are doing this and we hope Dr. Joshi’s indictment has some type of deterrent effect,” he said.