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In SDNY Prosecution of Doctor for Oxycodone Diversion Rests Days After Bronx Dealer Cited Cold in MDC Brooklyn

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, February 19 – Two different sides of the government's fight against oxycodone have been on display in mid February in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On February 19 before SDNY Judge Denise Cote, the U.S. Attorney's Office closed it case against Ernesto Lopez MD with a witness going over, in great detail, log-ins to Practice Fusion to delete oxycodone prescriptions. Lopez' lawyers countered with a Harvard professor of pain management who said never say never when asked if it might be appropriate to prescribe oxy to a person already addicted to it. The U.S. Attorney's Office called it a proceeding of interest but it appeared Inner City Press was the only media present. Maybe it was the Excel log in spread sheets. Here's from the prosecutors' old press release: "From 2015 until October 2017, LOPEZ operated medical clinics located in Manhattan,New York; Jackson Heights, New York; and Franklin Square, New York, where LOPEZ wrote thousands of prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone and fentanyl patches in exchange forcash payments. LOPEZ typically charged $200 to $300 in cash for “patient visits,” where LOPEZ performed no meaningful physical examination of patients. Instead, a typical “patient visit” consisted primarily of recording a patient’s vital signs and sometimes involved the brief movement of a patient’s limbs. LOPEZ then prescribed large quantities of oxycodone, most frequently 120 30-milligram tablets, and fentanyl patches. Between January 2015 and the present, LOPEZ wrotemore than 8,000 oxycodone prescriptions, resulting in an estimated $2 million in fees to LOPEZ." That's real money. The previous business day on February 15,when Gustavo Salvador pled guilty to selling oxycodone in The Bronx before SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, his two lawyers tried to argue for a suspended remand based on the cold in the MDC Brooklyn. Judge Engelmayer turned them down saying he had personal knowledge that the heat was back on; not surprising. Surprising, though, was that a Bronx oxy dealer was represented by the white shoe Goodwin Proctor law firm. Was it pro bono? Their representation goes back at least until Thanksgiving, before the MDC Brooklyn conditions became public. In the audience, a young child then a baby cried. The volume of oxy pills was in the thousands, according to the indictment. The sentencing guidelines run from 57 to 71 months. Judge Engelmayer said he said something else on his schedule coming up, should the sentencing be rescheduled? It went forward. Goodwin Proctor.


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