California doctor accused of prescribing drugs in 5 deaths

Federal prosecutors say a 57-year-old Southern California doctor was arrested yesterday on charges of doling out drugs to patients he didn't examine and is alleged to have prescribed drugs to five people who died of overdoses as well as an impaired driver who struck and killed a bicyclist in Mission Viejo.

Dr. Dzung Pham faces charges of illegally distributing powerful opioids and prosecutors say he prescribed drugs to addicts or people selling them on the street. Prosecutors say he prescribed some drugs after receiving text messages requesting specific quantities and doses.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna says "this case clearly and tragically illustrates the dangers of drug dealers armed with prescription pads."

Prosecutors says Pham's record of prescribing large amounts of pills led a CVS pharmacy to stop accepting prescriptions from him more than five years ago when he couldn't justify the number of pills patients were picking up. According to records at the Osteopathic Medical Board state officials were aware of improper prescribing practices years before that.


Dawn Kamber