GA doctor admits to writing illegal prescription to South MS pat - - The News for South Mississippi

GA doctor admits to writing illegal prescription to South MS patient

Dr. Sanjay Sinha pleaded guilty Monday to just one of the 40 federal counts against him. (Photo source: WLOX) Dr. Sanjay Sinha pleaded guilty Monday to just one of the 40 federal counts against him. (Photo source: WLOX)

A Georgia doctor has admitted to writing prescriptions outside the scope of medical practice. Monday, Dr. Sanjay Sinha pleaded guilty to one federal charge of distributing a controlled substance outside the scope of medical practice. Thirty-nine other charges against Sinha were dropped as a result of the plea deal.

Sinha pleaded guilty to count 27, which involved Sinha writing a prescription for clonazepam to a patient identified only as TM.

According to the government, Sinha called in a prescription on June 21, 2011, for hydrocodone and clonazepam to the Ocean Springs Pharmacy. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie said clonazepam was the 33rd monthly prescription Sinha gave for TM.

If the case would have gone to trial for count 27, the government said TM would have testified that she never met with Sinha or had a physical examination before getting the prescriptions. TM, according to Meynardie, got the prescriptions from her husband, JM, who was getting prescriptions from Sinha. TM told agents she would fill out paperwork periodically and give it to her husband to give to Sinha.

According to Meynardie, the first document in TM's file is from June 1, 2009, which is more than a year after Sinha began writing prescriptions for her.

The government said if this case would have gone to trial, it would have called two doctors to testify, who would have said it is a violation to prescribe controlled substances without conducting a physical examination, taking an appropriate history of the patient and also not attempting to try any other mode of treatment or referring the patient to other specialists.

After the facts were read to the court, the judge asked Sinha if everything read was correct. Sinha's attorney, Christopher Smith, said everything was correct, except Sinha said he did meet with TM sometime around 2008. Smith said he and Sinha knew that meeting was not around the time of the charge, and therefore, calling in a prescription in 2011 was out of the scope of medical practice.

"He took responsibility for the one count," Smith said. "This is a scenario where it's very complex in what was happening, so there is still a lot of work left to do before the sentencing hearing at the end of September. We will be looking forward to that, and Dr. Sinha will address the court at that time, along with myself and Mr. Holder."

Smith asked for Sinha to remain free on bond until sentencing. There was no objection from the government. However, the probation officer told the judge Sinha was spotted at a casino in January, which is against his terms of release. According to the government, Sinha's patients were recruited from South Mississippi casinos.

The judge warned Sinha to stay out of the casinos and allowed him to remain free on bond.

Sentencing for Sinha is set for Sept. 29. He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and he could be ordered up to a year supervised released.

Two others charged in the case are set for sentencing at the end of July and the beginning of August.

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