Hamilton doctor convicted for ‘dealing deadly drugs under the guise of practicing medicine’

A Hamilton physician who was acting “opposite of a doctor” was convicted today of illegally distributing and dispensing controlled substances that led to the death of one victim in 2016, according to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

A U.S. District Court jury convicted Dr. Saad Sakkal, 71, who was practicing at Lindenwald Medical Association, Inc. in Hamilton. The verdict was announced today following a trial that began April 1 before U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.

Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said Sakkal, who had a medical license, was “dealing deadly drugs under the guise of practicing medicine.”

The penalty for dealing drugs that cause death is at least 20 years and up to life in prison, Glassman said. Judge Barrett will schedule a date for sentencing.

The jury convicted Sakkal of 30 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances outside the scope of a medical practice and with no legitimate medical purpose, and six counts of use of a registration number that was issued to someone else, Glassman said.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence gathered by investigators that Sakkal performed inadequate physical exams to identify and verify patient’s complaints of pain, and that he issued prescription combinations that were particularly dangerous and addictive, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Pharmacists testified they warned Sakkal of the risks and eventually refused to fill prescriptions issued by Sakkal. Investigators also testified that Sakkal received repeated notice of addiction, overdoses and deaths, but continued his practices.

A federal grand jury indicted Sakkal in June 2018. Agents arrested him in Florida after he was indicted. He has been held without bond since his arrest. Judge Barrett ordered him to remain in custody until sentencing.

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