New York, May 16
A 76-year-old Indian-American doctor in the US state of California has pleaded guilty to three counts of illegally prescribing opioids and other medication, authorities said.
According to a statement from US Attorney Phillip A Talbert, Sawtantra Chopra of Modesto pleaded guilty last Wednesday to three counts of illegally prescribing opioids and other medications outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
These drugs are highly addictive and commonly abused, the statement said, adding that the medications, which affect the central nervous system, may only be prescribed when medically required.
Chopra surrendered his medical licence in 2020 as the case was pending, the statement said.
Chopra is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5 by US District Judge Jennifer L Thurston and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a USD 1 million fine if convicted, the US Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California, said in a press release.
The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
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