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Encino physician charged with unlawfully prescribing painkillers

An Encino physician was charged Thursday with prescribing narcotic painkillers and other potent drugs to patients who had no legitimate need for the medications, prosecutors said.

Yahya Hedvat, 68, was arrested at his Ventura Boulevard clinic, Encino Medical Urgent Care, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Hedvat, who specializes in internal medicine, faces eight felony counts of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance, including hydrocodone, clonazepam and suboxone, according to a felony complaint for arrest warrant.

Hedvat's clinic was open for business when he was arrested, said Deputy Dist. Atty. John Niedermann, who is prosecuting the case.

Niedermann would not comment on the number of prescriptions Hedvat is accused of writing but said "there is a greater awareness in society of the problem of prescription drug abuse and law enforcement is certainly keeping a closer eye on the gatekeepers, including physicians."

When doctors "act irresponsibly and when it rises to a level of criminal conduct, they should be held responsible," Niedermann said.

Hedvat allegedly prescribed to patients, including undercover agents with the California Medical Board, without conducting proper examinations in August 2012 and numerous times in 2013, according to the complaint.

In two of the charges, he is accused of illegally prescribing anti-anxiety and insomnia drugs to a patient listed only as Sandra F., according to the complaint. The other six charges are related to his prescribing to undercover agents.

Hedvat is expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday. Prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $80,000, according to the district attorney's office.

Calls to Hedvat's clinic Thursday afternoon were not returned.

If convicted on all counts, he faces up to seven years and eight months in county jail, prosecutors said.

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