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California doctor convicted of illegally prescribing opioids, including to one person who overdosed

Doctor Illegal Prescriptions
Posted at 12:07 PM, Jun 25, 2023

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A California physician who wrote more than 8,200 prescriptions in a one-year span has been convicted on 12 counts of distributing opioid pills without a legitimate medical purpose, including to one person who died of an overdose, federal prosecutors said.

A federal jury found Donald Siao, 58, guilty after a weeklong trial, according to a statement Friday from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Siao, who practiced family medicine in San Jose, prescribed oxycodone and hydrocodone in increasing quantities to undercover law enforcement agents posing as patients, prosecutors said.

“The undercover agents received prescriptions from Siao despite complaining of only vague pain or discomfort, requesting specific opioids by name, and admitting to sharing the pills with friends and coworkers,” the statement said.

Eight of the 12 counts against Siao involved a mother and son who received prescriptions from the physician even after claiming to have lost or had pills stolen, prosecutors said. The son died from an overdose of opioids in December 2019.

Each of the 12 counts against Siao carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing was set for Nov. 7.

Ismail J. Ramsey, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, said he would seek to have Siao's medical license forfeited.