July 12th, 2012

East Bay doctor under fire for prolific painkiller prescriptions

Meet Dr. Edward Manougian, an East Bay physician who has ordered so many OxyContin pills for low-income patients that he ranked as one of the state’s most prolific prescribers. Until the California medical board stopped his prescribing last year, Manougian ordered patients to take doses of opiate pain pills that are three to 12 times higher than what doctors consider high. His prescriptions have been linked to three patient deaths. 

Now, Manougian’s practice has drawn the attention of federal investigators. The case raises the question: Given the widespread problems of overdose and addiction related to opioid painkillers, when does prescribing actually exacerbate the suffering it’s meant to ease? 

Read our full investigation here. To learn more about the issues surrounding opioid abuse, check out our resources on React & Act.

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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.