Raman I. Popli, MD is a 48 y/o internal medicine doctor who practices in McHenry, IL. He has been practicing for 25 years and was also categorized as a buprenorphine provider, so he knows how to prescribe opioids. He was rated 5 stars out of 5 by 23 Google users, with glowing reviews describing him as caring and attentive. But he meets several criteria for attack by the government: minority, independent general practice physician treating pain: i.e—low hanging fruit in the eyes of the prosecutors looking for justification for their job security.
He became a target of the DEA based on the numbers of opioids he has prescribed. They immediately jumped on the standard phrase “outside the usual course of professional practice” and with the help of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, got his license suspended in March, 2017, for “inappropriately prescribing controlled substances” The decision to attack this particular doctor was simply based on numbers—how many prescriptions he has written.
They used the standard undercover officers posing as patients in need of pain medication, claiming his exam was not “thorough”, and he didn’t order X-rays. They also criticized his prescribing hydrocodone on the first visit. Well, since pain is a subjective problem that is quite understandable. If law enforcement and the DOJ ever went to medical school, they would know that. But they can castigate normal medical practice through accusations like this. Dr. Popli actually discharged both undercovers at their next attempt, which shows that he does due diligence in his prescribing. The government needs to get out of the practice of medicine, especially since drugs don’t cause addiction in the first place.
Dr. Popli was also a victim of the new threat to doctors: the government’s pressure on pharmacists to report any doctors that have higher than “normal” prescriptions of controlled drugs. Putting pressure on the pharmacists, the police interviewed a Wal-Mart pharmacist in Johnsburg who said that Wal-Mart has a corporate list of doctors who prescribe a high number of opioid medications, and Popli was on the list. The government reports that she told the doctor that as a general practitioner, he should start referring his patients to a pain clinic to keep him from getting in trouble with the DEA. But Dr. Popli did not remember any of those conversations. My guess is they never took place. The pharmacists in my area at my trial gave perjured testimony, I’m sure, under threat of prosecution themselves.
Dr. Popli also denied giving a patient early refills, and said that he checked the Prescription Monitoring Program so this did not happen. In other words, Dr. Popli ran a legitimate medical practice in which he took care of his patients. This is what we swear an oath to when we become physicians, and we should not lose our license to practice based on our compassion and caring.
As usual, Brian Zachariah, chief medical coordinator of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and a licensed physician, acted as law enforcement using regulatory statements out of context or meaning to strip Dr. Popli of his license. The misused statement in most state regulations is “presents an immediate danger to the safety of the public”. Usually there are criteria stated to define this phrase, but the Boards of Medicine or DEA don’t pay any attention to those. They just use the phrase against anyone they please without any of the criteria necessary. In this case it was for “inappropriately prescribing” pain and anti-anxiety medication, based simply on numbers of prescriptions written.
One of the DEA’s information sources was a person who obtained drugs illegally from one of Dr. Popli’s patients. But is that person being charged with a crime? Probably not, if they help the government convict an innocent physician. There is more money, promotions, and job security in attacking doctors than real criminals.
Quoting the number of deaths supposedly from prescription drugs (when usually illegal drugs are the cause), the government puts figures out to the media in order to sway potential jurors into believing that doctors are the cause of the opioid epidemic. The reality is that the government is the cause. First, by throwing good doctors’ patients like Dr. Popli’s to the street to treat themselves, they can overdose. Second, by continuing to spread the propaganda that opioids cause addiction when they don’t simply so they can attack good doctors like Dr. Popli in order to forfeit his assets, they are not getting to the cause, and drug abuse will continue to rise. For the real cause, go to: https://youtu.be/YvG5Vv5rW5A.
I hope Dr. Popli joins us in this fight, stands up to this government overreach, and helps us educate America as to what the government is doing.