LOS ANGELES – A Lynwood doctor who is a resident of Indio was sentenced on Monday to 5 years in prison for issuing medications, including highly addictive opioids, to those who did not have medical conditions to legitimize the prescription.
Dr. Edward Ridgill, 64, who was a doctor for over 20 years, and worked as an Internal Medicine Doctor for St. Francis Medical Center, operated the medical clinic attracting mostly young cash patients. Some of his patients traveled from Victorville, Palmdale and Desert Hot Springs to obtain the highly addictive, powerful narcotics and sedatives.
This illegal drug business, which charged “significant amounts of cash”, allowed Dr. Edward Ridgill to work only three hours a day. “With all due respect to Dr. Ridgill, he is not a doctor. He has a license to practice, [but] he is not practicing medicine,” said Judge Otero. In the past, Ridgill had been reprimanded for improperly writing prescriptions. Judge Otero said that his new charges indicate that he did not learn his lesson from the prior incident.
Medications most sold, according to evidence presented in court, was the opioid painkiller hydrocodone, which is often sold under the brand name Norco; alprazolam, best known by the brand name Xanax; and carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer often sold under the brand name Soma. In 2014, Ridgill wrote nearly 9,000 prescriptions and deposited more than $175,000 in cash. The vast majority of prescriptions were for maximum strengths of hydrocodone, alprazolam, and carisoprodol. Also, expert medical witnesses confirmed that the physical exams Dr. Ridgill performed, were not sufficient for the justification of the high-dosage controlled substances that he was prescribing. They also testified that he was prescribing, “massive amounts of the same three controlled substances charged in this case – hydrocodone, alprazolam, and carisoprodol – to individuals who sometimes traveled long distances to obtain repeated prescriptions from defendant, at relatively young ages to be validly seeking such high doses of pain medication, in large volumes over short periods of time.”
During the investigation, undercover DEA operatives receiving prescriptions from Ridgill in exchange for cash payment. Ultimately, authorities served a federal search warrant on both the home and medical office of Ridgill. The 2015 search, multiple pre-written prescriptions for controlled substances were found. In addition, cash was found “stuffed” in multiple places, which corroborated the allegations of the cash-for-drugs business.
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The sentencing followed a one-week where the jury deliberated around 30 minutes in December 2017, finding Ridgill guilty of 26 counts related to the illegal distribution of a controlled substance outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. Ridgill was convicted on 13 counts of distributing hydrocodone, nine counts of distributing alprazolam, and four counts of distributing carisoprodol.
This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization
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