A Southern California pain doctor who was featured in a 2012 Times investigative report on patient overdose deaths was barred Monday from writing prescriptions for some narcotics and other widely abused drugs.
John Dimowo pleaded not guilty in a court hearing to eight counts of illegally prescribing Vicodin, Norco, Xanax and Adderall to undercover agents who pretended to be patients but had no legitimate need for the drugs.
Dimowo, 55, was arrested in October on seven counts of unlawful prescribing; prosecutors added an eighth count Monday, said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. John Niedermann.
Prosecutors had hoped to stop Dimowo from practicing medicine while the charges were pending. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Melissa N. Widdifield declined their request. But as a condition of bail, she ordered Dimowo to stop writing prescriptions for the types of drugs at issue in the case.
Dimowo, who is free on $60,000 bail, is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 3 for a preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to take him to trial.
Undercover agents posing as patients on visits to Dimowo’s Wilmington office were able to get prescriptions for addictive drugs without the doctor examining them, according to an affidavit. It described Dimowo as a prolific prescriber of painkillers such as Vicodin, writing an average of at least 37 prescriptions a day.
The Times reported last year that five of Dimowo’s patients fatally overdosed on medications he prescribed between 2009 and 2010, coroner records show. They ranged in age from 26 to 59.
Authorities investigated the deaths but said they did not find sufficient evidence to hold him criminally liable for any of them.