Indian-American in Virginia sentenced for illegal sale of opioids

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An Indian-American who was formerly a physician was sentenced today (April 26, 2019), to more than seven years in prison for operating a pill mill that illegally distributed over 600,000 oxycodone pills out of a pain management clinic in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Shriharsh Laxman Pole, 65, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.

According to court documents, Pole, a physician who voluntarily surrendered his medical license in 2009, and again in 2013, admitting in both instances, to creating a substantial risk to public health by engaging in wrongful prescribing practices for opiates, including oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone, a press release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Upon surrendering his license in 2013, Pole founded Excel Medical Clinic (EMC), which operated out of the same office, had the same employees, and the same patients, as Pole’s former practice.

Most of EMC’s patients were treated for pain management issues. Pole enlisted the aid of nurse-practitioner and co-conspirator, Janelle Hibson, 63, of Fredericksburg, who pleaded guilty to the same charges on September 6.

Hibson pre-signed prescriptions that Pole later filled out and distributed. Patients often received these drugs without undergoing any physical or diagnostic examination to determine whether the drugs were necessary for legitimate medical purposes. Pole admitted that between EMC’s founding and 2015, his actions caused the distribution of more than 600,000 pills containing oxycodone.

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