A San Diego County doctor pleads guilty to illegally and fraudulently prescribing painkillers to some patients who did not have a medical need for them, the U.S. Attorney's office announced on Wednesday.
Dr. Naga Raja Thota, M.D., 62, was arrested at the Pain Management Center in El Cajon. He was accused of attempting to hook patients onto painkillers and prescribing the pills in exchange for sex once those patients were addicted.
According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney, Laura Duffy’s office, Thota pleaded guilty to seven counts of, “superseding information.” He admitted to illegally prescribing patients with oxycodone and hydrocodone tablets, sometimes writing the prescription under the names of a brother and father of one patient.
One of the patients had been a sex partner, Thota admitted in his plea agreement.
According to Tom Lenox of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the federal investigation into Thota dates back several years, involving three patients who were prescribed painkillers by him and developed sexual relationships.
After Thota’s arrest more than two dozen people had come forward, accusing him of prescribing painkillers to them in exchange for sex, according to Amy Roderick with the DEA, who spoke with NBC 7 in September.
“This defendant abused his power to prescribe and exploited the desperation of his opioid-addicted patients when abuse and overdose are at crisis levels. We are going after doctors who are not worthy of a patient’s trust,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.