CHICAGO (CBS) — He prescribed hundreds of highly addictive drugs a month to patients.
The doctor’s allegedly dangerous practices were first reported by CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman and now his medical license has been suspended by the state.
The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation has suspended Dr. Syed Akhter’s medical license indefinitely or for a minimum of two years.
Zekman went to his office Friday to see if he had suspended his practice. His receptionist said he wasn’t there.
Dr. Akhter was charged with inappropriately prescribing large quantities of highly addictive and abused controlled substances.
The hearing officer’s report details the case of one patient. Between April 2013 and July 2016 Akhter prescribed 60 Xanax, 100 Oxycodone, and 120 Norco for her almost ever month. The last two are opioids, the cause of a current health care crisis according to addiction specialists CBS 2 talked to.
“More people are dying of opioid overdoses than are dying from cancer. It’s passed car accidents. It’s about as dire a consequence as there can be,” said Rush University addiction specialist Kathryn Perticone.
The state hearing officer also cited expert conclusions that Akhter “failed to address red flags of abuse, dependence or diversion.”
For example, when the patient claimed she ran out of the drugs several days early, she “showed no signs of withdrawal.”
Zekman tried asking Dr. Akhter about the case during a break in his disciplinary hearing. He had no comment.
During the hearing Dr. Akhter testified that because of the patient’s history and his exam, he felt he “treated her appropriately.
State officials declined CBS 2’s request for an on-camera interview.
But in a written statement, a spokesperson said the agency is committed to disciplining improper opioid prescribing and has championed legislation to promote safer prescribing to help battle the opioid crisis.