A San Leandro podiatrist who was convicted of selling illegal prescriptions in 2008 has been charged with two new counts of the same offense, authorities said Friday.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement that Dr. Tan Nguyen, 62, had written more than 5,000 prescriptions -- mainly for addictive narcotic painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone, the muscle relaxer carisoprodol and the anti-anxiety medication diazepam -- in the last year.
On June 17, an FBI agent posing as a patient called Nguyen's office; he picked up the phone himself, according to a probable cause statement.
"What kind of pills are you expecting to get?" he asked the agent, according to the statement. "If you want pills, all I can give you is Norco (a narcotic painkiller) ... no oxycodone."
When the agent arrived at the office two days later, Nguyen made a copy of her identification and told her, "I can only give you 100 Norco," according to the statement.
The agent then asked for another prescription for the controlled substance Soma, a muscle relaxer.
Nguyen agreed and told her to pay $65, according to the statement. After she paid, Nguyen, who had not examined her in anyway nor asked any medical questions, told her: "You have plantar fasciitis. Heel pain."
On Thursday, the agent returned to Nguyen's office, bringing a "friend" who was actually an undercover Alameda County Sheriff's deputy. Nguyen refused to give the agent a new prescription so soon after her first visit, but wrote the undercover deputy a prescription for 100 Norco and 50 Soma, again without any kind of medical exam.
As the pair left Nguyen's office, he followed them outside and told them to limp as they walked away from the building, according to the statement.
Nguyen was previously convicted of selling illegal narcotics prescriptions in 2008. He was sentenced to 65 days in jail and five years' probation, and had his medical license placed on probationary status for seven years, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
O'Malley said that rates of prescription drug abuse and addiction are "alarmingly high" in Alameda County, as are the numbers of accidental overdoses due to the drugs.