Norwalk Doctor Sentenced For Health Care Fraud, Drug Distribution

A local doctor is going to spend several years behind bars for distributing opioids to patients with no need for drugs in Fairfield County.

U.S. District Court in New Haven.

U.S. District Court in New Haven.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Milford resident Bharat Patel, a doctor working out of Family Health Urgent Care in Norwalk, has been sentenced to 54 months in prison after pleading guilty to narcotics distribution and healthcare offenses over the summer. 

He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following his stay in prison.

Beginning in 2011, through July last year, Patel “saw numerous patients who had no legitimate medical purpose to see Patel, and only came to his medical practice in order to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances,” according to John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. 

During that time he had patients to whom he prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone whose urine and blood tests showed no signs of opioid ingestion. 

 He also had patients he prescribed the drugs to whose urine/blood tests showed that they had other narcotics in their systems and that a prescription for oxycodone or hydrocodone would be a contraindication.

Durham said that Patel ignored the warnings and continued to prescribe controlled substances to these patients outside of the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. In exchange, Patel was paid $100 in cash for the prescriptions. 

At times, Durham noted, Patel provided patients medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone or hydrocodone, which he left at a liquor store next door to his practice.  Patients retrieved the prescriptions by exchanging an envelope with cash in it for the prescriptions.

In total, Patel, 71, wrote hundreds of unnecessary prescriptions and received $158,523.95 as a result of his scheme. He was arrested on July 12 last year and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone and health care fraud on June 25.

 Patel was also forced to surrender his federal controlled substances registration to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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