Crime & Courts

Hearing continued for McHenry doctor accused of overprescribing pain pills

A hearing to determine whether a McHenry doctor will lose his license after he allegedly overprescribed large amounts of pain medication to his patients was continued Friday.

Raman I. Popli’s license was temporarily suspended Monday pending a hearing before a disciplinary board. The hearing has been rescheduled after a motion was filed by his attorney, Alan Rhine. Popli will appear with his attorney for a status hearing March 27.

A complaint was filed Monday by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation against Popli, a general practitioner who has worked in the McHenry area for more than a decade, claiming that he was “inappropriately prescribing controlled substances to the patients of his private practice,” according to court records.

A nearly yearlong investigation by the DEA’s Chicago Field Office found that Popli prescribed more than 350,000 dosage units of controlled substances between June 2014 and May 2016. This included 167,000 dosage units of hydrocodone, 86,000 dosage units of Xanax, 50,000 dosage units of oxycodone and more than 28,000 dosage units of Klonopin, according to court documents.

Two undercover officers posing as patients in need of pain medication visited Popli’s office, 5415 Bull Valley Road, McHenry, as part of a sting last summer. Popli gave both officers prescriptions for hydrocodone during their first visits, although both presented several “red flags.”

On July 25 and Aug. 10, two undercover officers went to Popli’s office and posed as patients complaining of discomfort or soreness. Without any thorough examination or X-ray, Popli prescribed both officers Norco after they requested it.

Weeks later, on Aug. 15, both officers contacted Popli’s office separately, and they each were told they had been taken out of the system and the doctor would not treat them any further. Both officers also were sent a letter from Popli’s office that read, “Your name has been flagged by the DEA (along with a few others), and I have been informed by the DEA that you need to be referred to a pain specialist and that I should not be prescribing chronic pain medications to you.”

Brian Zachariah, chief medical coordinator of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and a licensed physician for about 29 years, said that after reviewing documents related to the case, “the continued practice of medicine by Raman Popli, M.D., presents an immediate danger to the safety of the public in the state of Illinois.”

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