Doctor Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Selling Prescriptions of Suboxone and Klonopin
PHILADELPHIA – Dr. Azad Khan, 64, of Villanova, PA, was sentenced to 24 months in prison by the Honorable Lawrence F. Stengel in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A federal jury found Khan guilty on July 25, 2017 of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and two counts of distribution of controlled substances, all arising from Khan’s employment at a clinic run by co-defendant Dr. Alan Summers.
Dr. Khan worked at a medical clinic operated by Dr. Summers on South Broad Street in Philadelphia that sometimes operated under the business name “NASAPT” (National Association for Substance Abuse-Prevention & Treatment). As proven at trial, Summers, Khan, and the other doctors employed at the clinic prescribed large doses of Suboxone and Klonopin in exchange for large cash payments. Suboxone is a brand name for a drug used to treat opiate addiction. The government’s experts and the defendant’s own expert testified at trial that Suboxone and Klonopin should never be prescribed together, except in rare cases when absolutely necessary. At Dr. Summers’s clinic, virtually all customers received prescriptions for both Suboxone and Klonopin, regardless of their medical need. During the duration of the conspiracy, Dr. Summers, Dr. Khan, and other doctors at the clinic illegally sold over $5 million worth of these controlled substances.
Almost all of the prescriptions for Suboxone and Klonopin were pre-printed before the customer met with a doctor. Summers, Khan and the other doctors working at the clinic failed to conduct medical examinations or mental health examinations as required by law in order to legally prescribe these controlled substances. The amount of Suboxone and Klonopin which Khan and the other doctors prescribed depended on the amount of cash the customer paid rather than any medical reason. For $200, the customers received a month’s supply of Suboxone and Klonopin. For $50, the customers received a week’s supply. Evidence at trial demonstrated a stunning lack of medicine being performed at Summers’s clinic by Khan and many of the other doctors at the clinic.
Several customers who frequented this clinic testified that they were, in fact, drug dealers or drug addicts who sold the prescribed medications. Khan’s own records showed that his customers tested positive for illicit drugs and negative for Suboxone and Klonopin. Khan ignored the drug tests which showed that some of his customers were not taking the prescribed medications and he continued to prescribe them large doses of Suboxone and Klonopin.
Dr. Summers, as well as two other doctors involved in this scheme, Dr. Keyhosrow Parsia and Dr. Clarence Verdell, have pleaded guilty and have either already been sentenced or await sentencing.
“Every doctor who abandons his or her ethics to engage in the prescription-for-pay culture is breaking the law,” said United States Attorney William M. McSwain. “It is ironic that these defendants, while holding themselves out as professional addiction treatment specialists, preyed on the very people they should have been helping. By recklessly selling preprinted prescriptions for cash, they chose greed over their duty to heal. Our office will continue to investigate and prosecute drug organizations on the street and in doctors’ offices when their unscrupulous and illegal conduct contributes to this deadly opioid epidemic.”
“Dr. Khan’s flagrant disregard for his oath as a doctor and total lack of concern for the well-being of his customers led to the illegal distribution of $5 million worth of controlled substances,” said Jonathan A. Wilson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. “The DEA is responsible for the prevention, detection, and investigation of the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals; we will continue to aggressively pursue the rogue doctors that choose to engage in this criminal activity.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that health care fraud and drug diversion will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Maureen R. Dixon, of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect government funds and keep the public safe from dangerous drugs.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Narcotics Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Livermore and Katherine Driscoll.