Physician is indicted on federal drug charges

June 2, 2005 WILMINGTON - A physician with offices in Wilmington was indicted on federal narcotics charges for dispensing prescription painkillers to at least a dozen patients without any legitimate medical purpose, authorities said Wednesday.

Dr. Parambaloth Edwin's medical license was suspended by state regulators in April 2003, a short time after Drug Enforcement Administration agents executed searches at his Wilmington office and seized patient records, authorities said.

Edwin, 64, of Dwight, also was charged in the 17-count indictment with failing to maintain accurate records for more than 50,000 tablets of a painkiller he dispensed to patients.

Doctor facing federal charges

6/2/2005 - Indicted for giving painkillers without a legitimate need

A Dwight physician was free today after his indictment late Tuesday on federal narcotics charges.

Dr. Parambaloth A. Edwin, 64, who had practices at 104 N. Main St., Dwight, and the Wilmington Medical Center, 201 E. Kahler St., Wilmington, was charged in 17 counts with allegedly dispensing prescription painkillers to patients without a legitimate medical purpose.

Edwin also was charged with failure to keep accurate records of a controlled substance that he sold to patients, said Randall Samborn, spokesman for the federal court system from the Northern District of Illinois.

Samborn said Wednesday the doctor was not taken into custody following his indictment. Edwin will, however, be arraigned in U.S. District Court at a later date, he said.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Richard W. Sanders, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, released the indictment Wednesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Madeleine S. Murphy is representing the government in the case.

Edwin, who began his practice in Dwight in 1977, was charged in the federal indictment with 12 counts of illegal distribution of hydrocodone, a controlled substance, and five counts of failing to maintain accurate records of the hydrocodone he obtained from pharmaceutical companies.

The indictment alleges Edwin, at his office in Wilmington, illegally dispensed 685 hydrocodone tablets in various strengths to 12 unnamed patients between Aug. 14, 2001, and March 18, 2003.

Samborn said the indictment contains one count for each of the 12 patients, and alleges Edwin illegally distributed between three and 120 hydrocodone tablets to each of them on a dozen different dates.

The five other counts charge that on April 9, 2003 ‹ the date his Wilmington office was searched ‹ Edwin failed to keep complete and accurate records of 27,341 tablets of hydrocodone.

This included 3,725 tablets of hydrocodone 10/325, and 911 tablets of hydrocodone 10/650, plus 4,341 tablets of hydrocodone 5/500. Also, 2,943 tablets of hydrocodone 7.5/500, and 15,421 tablets of hydrocodone 7.5/750.

The maximum penalty for conviction is five years on each count of illegal distribution, plus a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty is four years in prison and fine of $250,000 for conviction on each count of failing to maintain accurate records.

Samborn said the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation suspended in April 2003 Edwin¹s license to practice medicine and that the DEA revoked the doctor¹s ability to write prescriptions.

The suspension came about a week after DEA agents executed searches at Edwin¹s offices in the Wilmington Medical Center and seized patient records, Samborn said.

Edwin said in a telephone interview with the Morris Daily Herald on April 24, 2003, the suspension of his license was his first problem in 26 years of practice, and that he did not intentionally do anything wrong.

He said a lot of physicians who prescribe pain medication are being arrested for something they legitimately prescribe. The trend, he said at the time, was to charge physicians with major crimes when there is no crime.

"It¹s a big trend that¹s going on - federal prosecutors prosecuting pain doctors (who prescribe for such as) arthritis, injuries and chronic pain," he said then.

"People are dying left and right on street drugs, so they are going after doctors because they are high profile. Many pain doctors are complaining about this, and trying to get out of prescribing these drugs for legitimate reasons."

Edwin also blamed the pharmaceutical companies for aggressively pushing their products. "Then telling us we don¹t have to worry about state boards going after us," he said.

The IDPR¹s suspension of Edwin¹s license said the doctor continued to prescribe controlled substances to patients whom he knew to be chemically dependent.

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