[UPDATED with Appeal Withdrawn:] Dr. Lisa Tseng's Over-Prescription Cloud Hangs Over Surf City's Now-Closed Pacifica Pharmacy
See the update at the end of this post about the former Pacifica Pharmacy owner withdrawing his appeal of his pharmacy license revocation.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 25, 7:30 A.M.: As you've probably seen or read, former Rowland Heights physician Lisa Tseng has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree homicide, settled 12 wrongful death lawsuits and been tied to a total of 19 deaths for allegedly over-prescribing various dangerous drugs.
Less well publicized has been the Huntington Beach pharmacy where many of those patients obtained Soma, Opana, Xanax and Oxycontin.
As KABC 7 reported Friday, after an exhaustive Los Angeles Times investigation in December, "Pacifica Pharmacy in Huntington Beach was a popular place for Southern California prescription drug addicts. Investigators with the California Board of Pharmacy said it was no accident that drug addicts went there because 'no questions were asked.'"
At least seven of Tseng's now dead patients, many of whom were young adults who resided in Orange County, traveled to the tiny pharmacy on Beach Boulevard to fill their prescriptions. Among them was a survivor identified only as Robert who described a typical Pacifica Pharmacy transaction as, "Just, 'Here's my prescription, here's my cash. Fill it for me please, I'll be back in 10 minutes.'"
Tseng's office was more than 30 miles away from the pharmacy, but Robert claimed he ran into the same people at both places and that he'd get high in the Pacifica parking lot after getting his meds inside.
A California Board of Pharmacy accusation claims Pacifica Pharmacy filled 1,844 prescriptions for controlled substances written by Tseng over a one year period and that owner and pharmacist-in-charge Frank Tran ignored such warning signs of abuse as large cash payments, early refills and patients traveling long distances to have their prescriptions filled. An Arizona State University senior overdosed and died nine days after visiting Pacifica.
The state pharmacy board shut Pacifica down last year and revoked Tran's pharmacist license. He is appealing.
Meanwhile, the KABC 7 report ends with his sobering fact: many rogue doctors and pharmacists had been tracked by a California database known as CURES, but Gov. Jerry Brown cut the program's funding in 2011 and it is now down to a single full-time employee.
UPDATE, FEB. 27, 9:46 A.M.: Thang Q. "Frank" Tran has withdrawn his appeal of the California Board of Pharmacy revoking his license.
His lawyer tells the Orange County Register that Tran instead will reapply to win back his license in three years. The former pharmacist claims to have never spoken to Dr. Lisa Tseng, the physician accused of over-prescribing medications to drug addicts.
Tseng has a pre-trial hearing scheduled March 8 in Los Angeles Superior Court, where she is fighting three second-degree murder charges, one felony count of prescribing drugs using fraud and 20 felony counts of prescribing drugs without a legitimate purpose.
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