NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Long Island Internist Dr. Anand Persaud, who is accused of illegally selling prescriptions for the narcotic medication oxycodone. The arrest occurred after investigators from the New York State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit executed a search warrant at Persaud’s medical offices located at 1019 Atlantic Avenue in Baldwin and 173-25 Jamaica Avenue in Queens.
Persaud was arrested at his Baldwin office and is expected to be arraigned in Nassau County District Court in Hempstead. A felony complaint filed today charges Persaud, age 44, with two counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance, a class C felony. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
“It’s unconscionable that a doctor, a trusted licensed professional, would violate his professional duties and abuse his license to traffic in prescriptions for narcotics,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will hold accountable those who contribute to the growth of the prescription drug abuse epidemic in New York State.”
Persaud is charged with selling a prescription for oxycodone without providing medical documentation or conducting a medical examination of his patient on both November 13, 2012 and March 19th, 2013. New York State law prohibits physicians from prescribing controlled substances, such as oxycodone, other than in good faith in the course of their professional practice. Oxycodone is one of a number of highly addictive opiates classified as Schedule II-(b) controlled substances. Under New York State Penal Law, Scheduled II-(b) controlled substances are considered narcotic drugs.
Persaud maintained a two-tiered practice. He had “medical” patients, those with regular medical issues, who were charged $110 for an office visit, and “pain management” patients, drug users and addicts, who were charged $250 or more for an office visit that included a prescription for a controlled substance. On both dates in question, Persaud charged a patient $250 or more to receive a prescription for oxycodone. Persaud did not conduct a physical examination of either patient or even question them about their need for the medication.
Both patients were Medicaid recipients eligible for no-cost medical care from Persaud who is an enrolled Medicaid provider. By enrolling in the State’s Medicaid program, a provider agrees to accept payment from Medicaid as payment in full for all care, services and supplies billed under the program, except where specifically provided in law to the contrary (18 NYCRR §504.3(c)). The patients in question presented themselves to Persaud as Medicaid recipients.
In Nassau and Suffolk Counties, admissions to drug treatment that involve opiates have increased 57 percent and 40 percent, respectively, for crisis admissions from 2007 to 2010. Non-crisis admissions have shockingly increased almost 70 percent in Nassau over the same time period. Since 2006, oxycodone has contributed to more deaths than any other prescription opioid in Nassau County, and prescriptions for the drug increased 42 percent from 2008 to 2010.
In June 2012, the New York State Legislature unanimously passed Attorney General Schneiderman’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP; it was signed into law on August 27, 2012. On August 27th of next month, one of the key components to the plan will take effect: doctors will be required to consult a real-time database of their patients’ prescription drug history before prescribing controlled substances like oxycodone.
I-STOP will make New York the first state in the nation with such a requirement. The system will also eliminate most paper prescriptions by August 2014. It will make it harder for dirty doctors to fuel the black market in prescription drugs and will make it next to impossible for addicts and drug peddlers to go “doctor shopping” to get their pills.
“With I-STOP, we are creating a national model for smart, coordinate communication between health care providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking and provide treatment to those who need help,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
The Attorney General’s investigation of Persaud is ongoing.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanked the Rockville Centre Police Department, and in particular, Commissioner Charles Gennario, Lieutenant James Vafeades and Detective Frank Marino, for their assistance in this investigation.
The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The investigation was conducted by Investigators Steven Broomer and Thomas Dowd and Special Auditor Investigator Joshua Berry who are supervised by Supervising Investigator Thomas Burke, Chief Investigator Thaddeus Fisher, Supervising Special Auditor Investigator Emmanuel Archer and Regional Chief Auditor Thomasina Smith.
The criminal case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Crystal Barrow of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, under the supervision of Regional Director Christopher M. Shaw, and Chief of Criminal Investigations Thomas O’Hanlon, under the overall supervision of MFCU Special Deputy Attorney General Monica Hickey-Martin and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.