Holy shit, this is my doctor


Brooke Richie

(CBS 11 News) FLOWER MOUND, TX Federal investigators say they've broken up a 75 (m) million dollar prescription drug ring. Officials say five doctors illegally sold drugs over the internet, and one of those physicians is from north Texas.

Dr. Annie Hoang has practiced family medicine in Flower Mound since 1999. Her attorney calls the Vietnamese immigrant's story the classic American dream.

"She's a wonderful person, and from everything I understand, she's a wonderful, caring physician," said attorney, Tom Rhodus.

On August 8th, Dr. Hoang was indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia. She faces one count of ‘conspiracy to distribute controlled substances’.

"The allegation is that she prescribed these over the internet pursuant to medical history questionnaires, rather than in dealing with the patients face to face," Rhodus said.

Hoang is accused of prescribing diet pills - including Phentermine, Bontril and Meridia. Investigators say she authorized at least 16,500 prescriptions over five months.

According to the indictment, “...to maximize profits, [company owners] used mass e-mailings, advertising, and other marketing schemes to sell large quantities of controlled substances to customers through the websites."

Prosecutors say the defendants advertised various controlled substances on their websites. Customers would then buy the drugs through an online ordering process.

Dr. Hoang was not one of the business owners, who prosecutors say earned 75 (m) million dollars through their company. According to the affidavit, "...no one associated with the defendants checked the accuracy of the information customers provided, including their identities, ages, and qualifying medical conditions."

CBS 11 News was unsuccessful in reaching Huang, who continues to practice medicine. The doctor will appear before a federal magistrate in Atlanta on Friday and will plead not-guilty. Her attorney believes she'll be cleared.

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Lewisville doctor indicted by federal grand jury

By Josh Hixson, Staff Writer
(Created: Tuesday, August 15, 2006)
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Thu Anh Hoang, M.D., 38, of Lewisville, a physician practicing at the Lifetime Medical Group in Flower Mound, along with four doctors across the country and two others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

The charges stem from the crackdown of what federal authorities are calling a $75 million illegal prescription drug ring.

“These defendants, particularly the doctors charged, allegedly chose Internet profits over legal and ethical medical practices,” United States Attorney David Nahmias said. “The indictment alleges that they abused their medical licenses, clicking a mouse instead of diagnosing actual patients. They flooded the Internet with hundreds of thousands of prescription drug pills made available to anyone willing to pay.”

Dr. Hoang was unavailable for comment. Dr. Hoang’s attorney Tom Rhodus said that he feels his client didn’t do anything illegal.

“She is a wonderful person and a wonderful doctor and I don’t think she has committed a crime,” Rhodus said. “The regulation that they are basing this on may be overreaching.”

He also explained the extent of his client’s involvement.

“The three drugs that are specifically hooked up to her in the indictment are diet pills,” Rhodus said. “She was being paid a monthly stipend that was not tied to the number of prescriptions she wrote. The federal government shouldn’t be determining what constitutes the ordinary course of a doctor’s practice.”

Troy Sobert, 36, of Anderson, S.C., and Christopher Stoufflet, 38, of Woodstock, Ga., were two of the owners of businesses including “escripts-md.com,” “myemd.com,” “Lifespan,” and “Virtual Wellness Networks,” based in Marietta, Ga. According to Nahmias and the documents and information presented in court these businesses attracted customers that wanted specific controlled substances and prescription drugs. Drugs included in the indictment are Phentermine, Adipex-P, Meridia, Bontril and Viagra.

The requests then got forwarded over the Internet to doctors who would click electronic prescriptions causing the drugs to be sent to the customers. According to the indictment, the doctors didn’t meet the customers or even speak with them over the telephone. Through these businesses customers were able to purchase controlled substances and prescription drugs without any genuine medical need.

Dr. Hoang allegedly dispensed at least 16,500 prescriptions in a six-month period, according to the indictment. This includes 7,000 prescriptions for controlled substances. The five doctors listed in the indictment dispensed at least 170,390 prescriptions in connection with the businesses. The business owners Stouflet and Sobert allegedly received at least $75 million as a result of the conspiracy.

The case is currently being investigated by special agents of the Food and Drug Administration.