The Medical Board of California has filed new allegations against a La Jolla doctor accused of using drugs in his office, writing illegal prescriptions for narcotics, and having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient.
Dr. Brad Schnierow’ s medical license was suspended in June. He was arrested in July, following a lengthy investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Medical Board.
Schnierow and his former girlfriend now face a 21 count criminal case, that includes allegations of prescription fraud and possession of controlled substances.
Schnierow was one of several doctors profiled in a recent NBC 7 Investigates story about drug abuse and negligent prescribing by San Diego County physicians.
A 24-page accusation made public Nov. 20 by the Medical Board provides the following new details of Schnierow’ s alleged misconduct:
- The DEA opened its investigation in April 2013, when an informant told investigators Schnierow “would often be late for appointments and sometimes would not show up at all.” That source allegedly saw a “meth pipe” and other “drug paraphernalia” in Schnierow’s La Jolla office and told DEA agents that Schnierow “nodded out on the patients, acts like someone in college, like a frat boy.”
- In May, 2013, another source – this one a former employee of the doctor – told investigators Schnierow had a long-standing drug problem, and recalled one instance in which he was “unkempt, could not complete his sentences, and was swaying while he walked.” That source had to call another doctor for help after Schnierow allegedly passed out in his office
- A computerized report of Schnierow’s prescription history obtained by the DEA revealed the doctor wrote 48 prescriptions for controlled substances for a former girlfriend over a one-year period. The DEA says most of those prescriptions were for a “powerful combination of (three) controlled substances and dangerous drugs known as “Houston cocktail,” “trio” and/or “holy trinity.”
- The property manager at the building where Schnierow maintained his medical office sent DEA agents photographs of “what appeared to be glass ‘crack pipes’” found in Schnierow’s office. (The doctor had earlier been evicted from the building for failure to pay rent, and “irrational” behavior.) During a May 28 search of Schnierow’s Del Mar home, DEA agents and Medical Board investigators found “evidence of improper prescribing and diversion of controlled substances and dangerous drugs” including a zip-lock bag of marijuana, a “bong” made of a pill bottle, “15 glass pipes with methamphetamine reside and a myriad of other pills, substances and injectables.”
- In July, a month after Schnierow agreed to stop practicing medicine, he allegedly went to a local emergency room, dressed in medical scrubs and showing his hospital ID badge. Schnierow told the ER doctor he had scratched his eye and needed a prescription for oxycodone, a powerful narcotic. According to the accusation, the ER doctor was “unaware of (Schnierow’s) sordid history” and prescribed the drug. Schnierow allegedly returned to the ER the next night, again dressed in scrubs and carrying his hospital ID. He once again requested – and received – another oxycodone prescription.
The Medical Board accusation lists 14 causes for discipline against Schnierow, including practicing medicine under the influence of narcotic, use of controlled substances, furnishing drugs to an addict, dishonesty or corruption, sexual relations with a patient, and practicing medicine during suspension.
The Medical Board seeks to revoke Schnierow’s license.
Court records indicate that Schnierow also faces a preliminary hearing in January on the criminal charges filed against him in July and amended in September. He has pleaded not guilty to those allegations.
His lawyer, Paul Pfingst, has not returned our phone call or replied to an email seeking a response to the Medical Board’s accusation.