A doctor pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges after prosecutors said he illegally prescribed dangerous painkillers, likely leading to at least two deaths.
Stan Xuhui Li was indicted Thursday on 219 counts after an investigation uncovered that he doled out access to xycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and Xanax for at least 20 patients at his Flushing clinic, the office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said. Li would see as many as 100 patients a day as people lined up on the sidewalk of his clinic on weekends and paid for their visits in cash, officials charged.
Seven of Li's patients died of prescription drug overdoses between January 2009 and December 2011, prosecutors said. He faces charges in two of those deaths. Li is accused of writing prescriptions for the the potentially dangerous drugs without conducting proper patient exams or considering alternative treatments.
In one instance, prosecutors said a patient received 15 prescriptions for controlled substances from Li within three months of his overdose death.
Officials said Li ignored signs of addiction in his patients and continued to give them access to prescriptions, even after other doctors or patient family members notified him of non-fatal overdoses.
"Dr. Li preyed on the community by supplying patients with illegal narcotics for cash," Tom O'Donnell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said. "In essence, the government believes he was little more than a glorified drug dealer."
Li is also accused of defrauding Medicare and Empire BlueCross BlueShield, and trying to dodge an investigation by the New York State Health Department’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct.
Li's charges include manslaughter, reckless endangerment and criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance.