KEY POINTS

  • A doctor in Missiouri is headed to jail for writing patients prescriptions without seeing them 
  • Drugs he prescribed included oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax among others
  • He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay over $175,000 in damages

A St. Louis County, Missouri physician was sentenced to jail for 24 months and ordered to pay over $175,000 for making false Medicare claims and writing prescriptions for patients without ever seeing them in person.

NBC affiliate KSDK reports that Dr. Brij R. Vaid instructed his staff to give patients pre-signed prescriptions for drugs, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax, according to a statement from the U.S. States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Missouri. District judge Audrey G. Fleissig characterized Vaid’s actions as “a reckless risk of bodily injury to his patients, given the powerful prescription opioid drugs that he repeatedly provided to patients."

Vaid and a nurse practitioner named Donna waldo reportedly ran Internal Medicine in St. Louis, an operation out of which the disgraced doctor would give his staff, including Waldo, with pre-signed prescriptions for powerful opioids and benzodiazepines and give them to patients without seeing them.

He would then bill Medicare and Medicaid, falsely claiming that he met with them. Vaid’s partner Waldo was sentenced to four years’ probation and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and over $48,600 to Medicaid for her role in the fraud. Vaid plead guilty in October and was sentenced this past week.

After Vaid was sentenced, Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spoke of the progress the verdict represented. "Dr. Vaid threatened the health and lives of his patients by prescribing powerful drugs, including opioids, without even a simple examination,” Muller said. “Together with our State and Federal law enforcement partners, we will guard taxpayer-funded government healthcare programs and those dependent on their services.”

Missouri saw over 950 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2019, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is one of the states that has been most affected by the crisis.

opioids Three major drug distributors reportedly are in discussions to settle sweeping litigation stemming from the opioid crisis for $18 billion. Photo: Air Force Medical Service