HOUSTON, Texas (KETK) – Federal authorities announced Friday, Oct. 18 that a federal jury convicted Houston-area doctor, Parvez Qureshi, for illegally prescribing 1.3 million doses of opioids to patients.
Court documents and evidence presented at the trial showed that Qureshi, 56, of Houston, “conspired to and did unlawfully prescribe controlled substances from 2014 through February 2016 for patients at Spring Shadows Medical Clinic of Houston (Spring Shadows), a clinic owned by Rubeena Ayesha, an advanced practice nurse practitioner,” according to the Department of Justice.
Ayesha is currently awaiting sentencing after she previously pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme, according to a report from the DOJ.
The DOJ said that Qureshi issued unlawful prescriptions for multiple controlled substances to more than 90 patients on the clinic’s busiest days. It was reported that people known as “runners” brought numerous people to pose as patients at the clinic and paid for their visits.
According to a DOJ news release, Spring Shadows charged between $250-$500 for each patient visit and required the payment to be in cash.
Evidence was reported to show that Qureshi pre-signed and issued prescriptions for controlled substances to patients that had not been evaluated by a physician. According to federal authorities, throughout the scheme Qureshi wrote prescriptions for 1.3 million dosage units of hydrocodone and 400,000 dosage units of oxycodone. Both are Schedule II controlled substances.
Ayesha also wrote prescriptions for more than a million dosage units of carisoprodol, a drug more commonly known as Soma, which is a Schedule IV controlled substance. It was reported that the drug was usually prescribed for patients that had already been prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone by Qureshi.
It was noted by the DOJ that the combination of oxycodone/hydrocodone and carisoprodol creates a dangerous drug cocktail that has no proven medical benefit.
Authorities reported that the clinic made over $4 million over the course of the scheme, over $1.5 million of which went to Qureshi.
Qureshi has been convicted on one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and four counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances, which all carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison per count. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 10, 2022 by a federal district court judge.