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Attorney General Brown Announces Charges Against Physician Accused of Prescription Drug Fraud

Monday, February 2, 2009
Contact: (415) 703-5837

RANCHO CUCUMONGA— Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that charges were filed against Dr. Lisa Barden of Rancho Cucumonga, who broke the law and “wrecked havoc” on the lives of patients whose identities she stole to obtain highly addictive pain killers.

“This physician wrecked havoc on the lives of dozens of patients, violating her oath and abusing her position as a doctor,” Attorney General Brown said.

In November 2007, the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement began an investigation of Dr. Barden, who illegally obtained prescription drugs on 131 separate occasions from more than 43 different pharmacies. Barden obtained more than 30,000 tablets of prescription painkillers, including hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxycotin). Dr. Barden was arrested on Thursday, January 29.

The Riverside District Attorney’s Office filed 276 felony counts including: commercial burglary, forgery, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, possession of a controlled substance, insurance fraud and identity theft. Agents recovered from her home multiple prescription pads for 12 different doctors, as well as the personal information of 93 people who are alleged victims of identity theft.

The investigation was led by the Riverside Regional Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team, which is a cooperative effort with the California Department of Insurance, Fraud Division and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

This initiative is part of the Attorney General’s plan to address prescription drug abuse in the state and make it easier for doctors to keep track of prescription drug records.

Prescription drug abuse can have serious public safety consequences, as many abusers hold down critical jobs including truck drivers, transit operators and medical practitioners. The Attorney General has been working in cooperation with the Troy and Alana Pack Foundation, founded by Bob Pack, whose 7 and 10-year old children were killed by a driver who was under the influence of prescription drugs obtained from multiple doctors, to make tracking prescription drug records easier.

Last year, Attorney General Brown unveiled a plan to provide doctors and pharmacies with real-time Internet access to patient prescription drug histories. Under Brown’s proposal, health professionals will have computer access to the drug histories of patients, replacing the current outdated system that required mailing or faxing written requests for information. Each year, more than 60,000 such requests are made to the California Department of Justice.

The state’s database, known as the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), contains 86 million entries for prescription drugs dispensed in California, giving healthcare professionals the technology they need to fight the prescription drug abuse currently burdening California’s healthcare system.

According to the latest Department of Justice “Drug Trends” report, Valium, Vicodin, and Oxycontin are the most prevalent pharmaceutical drugs obtained fraudulently. Vicodin and Oxycontin are the two most abused pharmaceutical drugs in the United States.

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