[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 23 (Monday, February 4, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7813-7815]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02232]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Drug Enforcement Administration

[Docket No. 12-57]


Sanjay Trivedi, M.D.; Decision and Order

    On September 25, 2012, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Gail A. 
Randall issued the attached recommended decision. Neither party filed 
exceptions to the decision. Having reviewed the entire record, I have 
decided to adopt the ALJ's rulings, findings of fact, conclusions of 
law, and recommended Order.

Order

    Pursuant to the authority vested in me by 21 U.S.C. 823(f) and 
824(a), as well as 28 CFR 0.100(b), I order that DEA Certificate of 
Registration FT0896754, issued to Sanjay Trivedi, M.D., be, and it 
hereby is, revoked. I further order that any pending application of 
Sanjay Trivedi, M.D., to renew or modify his registration, be, and it 
hereby is, denied. This Order is effective immediately.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For the same reason I ordered that Respondent's registration 
be immediately suspended, I conclude that the public interest 
necessitates that this Order be effective immediately. See 21 CFR 
1316.67.

    Dated: January 25, 2013.
Michele M. Leonhart,
Administrator.

Michelle F. Gillice, Esq., for the Government.
Matthew R. Kachergus, Esq., for the Respondent.

Recommended Rulings, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decision 
of the Administrative Law Judge

I. Facts

    Gail A. Randall, Administrative Law Judge. The Administrator, Drug 
Enforcement Administration (``DEA'' or ``Government''), issued an Order 
to Show Cause and Immediate Suspension of Registration (``Order'') 
dated June 25, 2012, proposing to revoke the DEA Certificate of 
Registration, No. FT0896754, of Sanjay Trivedi, M.D. (``Respondent''), 
as a practitioner, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 824(a)(4) (2006), and deny any 
pending applications for renewal or modification of such registration 
pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 823(f) (2006), because the continued registration 
of the Respondent would be inconsistent with the public interest, as 
that term is used in 21 U.S.C. 823(f). The Respondent's registration 
will expire by its own terms on November 30, 2013.
    Specifically, the Order alleged that the Respondent dispensed at 
least

[[Page 7814]]

226,752 dosage units of controlled substance prescriptions between 
April 24, 2011, and April 25, 2012. [Order at 2]. The Order alleged 
that the controlled substances most frequently prescribed during the 
year time period were: oxycodone 30mg; hydrocodone/apap 10-500mg; and 
oxycodone/apap 10-325mg. [Id.]. The Order further alleged that the 
Respondent prescribed controlled substances to undercover law 
enforcement officers between October and November 2011 in violation of 
Federal, State, and local law because the prescriptions were not for a 
legitimate medical purpose. [Id. 2-3]. Additionally, the Order alleged 
that the Respondent prescribed excessive and unnecessary doses of 
controlled substances to the undercover law enforcement officers 
without a clinical basis to do so, without conducting adequate physical 
examinations, without providing legitimate referrals for evaluations, 
and without giving proper attention to the possibility of misuse or 
diversion of controlled substances. [Id. at 3]. Lastly, the Order 
alleged that the Respondent is involved in a conspiracy in which 
controlled substances are prescribed to patients throughout the state 
of Florida without a legitimate medical purpose. [Id. at 4].
    On July 27, 2012, the Respondent, through counsel, filed a letter 
with the Court requesting an extension of time (``Respondent's 
Request'') to respond to the Order to Show Cause. [Respondent's Request 
at 1]. Specifically, the Respondent requested that in order to properly 
respond to the Order to Show Cause, the Respondent needed to obtain the 
patient records at issue and these records had been seized by law 
enforcement in conjunction with the criminal prosecution. [Id.].
    On July 30, 2012, the Court issued an Order Granting Respondent's 
Request for Extension of Time (``Court's Order''). Therein, the Court 
found that the Respondent had demonstrated good cause to justify 
granting a thirty-day extension of time to respond to the Order to Show 
Cause. [Court's Order at 1].
    On August 31, 2012, the Respondent, through counsel, filed a letter 
with the Court requesting an extension of time (``Respondent's Second 
Request'') to respond to the Order to Show Cause. [Respondent's Second 
Request at 1]. Specifically, the Respondent explained that he needed 
additional time to respond to the Order to Show Cause because the 
requested patient files at issue in the above-captioned matter had not 
yet been received since law enforcement had seized the records in 
conjunction with the criminal prosecution. [Id.]. That same day, the 
Court issued an Order Granting Respondent's Request for Extension of 
Time (``Court's Second Order''). Therein, the Court found that 
Respondent had demonstrated good cause to justify granting a second 
brief extension of time. [Court's Second Order at 2]. The Court ordered 
that the Respondent must clearly indicate his desire for a hearing on 
or before September 7, 2012. [Id.].
    On September 7, 2012, the Respondent, through counsel, timely filed 
a Request for Hearing in the above-captioned matter.
    On September 10, 2012, the Government filed a Motion for Summary 
Disposition and Motion to Stay Proceedings (``Government's Motion''). 
Therein, the Government requested that the Court summarily revoke 
Respondent's DEA registration because the Respondent's Florida state 
medical license is under an emergency suspension order. [Government's 
Motion at 1]. The Government stated that the Respondent was no longer 
authorized to handle controlled substances in Florida, the state where 
the Respondent is registered with the DEA. [Id. at 1-2]. The Government 
attached to its motion, a State of Florida Department of Health Order 
of Emergency Suspension of License (``Emergency Suspension''), filed 
June 27, 2012, in which the State of Florida Department of Health 
ordered the emergency suspension of the Respondent's license. 
[Government's Motion at Exhibit A]. The Government argues, therefore, 
that in accordance with Agency precedent, the DEA is barred by statute 
from continuing the Respondent's registration because his state medical 
license was suspended. [Id. at 1-2].
    On September 11, 2012, the Court issued an Order for Prehearing 
Statements and an Order for Respondent's Response to Government's 
Motion for Summary Disposition and to Stay Proceedings.
    On September 19, 2012, the Respondent, through counsel, filed 
Respondent's Response to Motion for Summary Disposition and Motion to 
Stay Proceedings and Request for Extension of Time for Further Response 
(``Respondent's Response''). Therein, the Respondent argues that the 
Court should grant him a thirty-day extension to respond to the 
Government's Motion because the Respondent is currently involved in 
settlement negotiations with the Florida Department of Health in which 
his Florida medical state license will be restored. [Respondent's 
Response at 1-3].
    On September 19, 2012, the Government filed Government's Reply to 
Respondent's Response to Motion for Summary Disposition and Motion to 
Stay Proceedings and Request for Extension of Time for Further Response 
(``Government's Reply''). Therein, the Government argues that the only 
due process that need be afforded to the Respondent is an ``opportunity 
to oppose a motion for summary disposition by showing that his state 
authority has not been suspended or revoked.'' [Government's Reply at 
1]. The Government further argues that because there has not been a 
showing that Respondent's state license is valid, the Respondent 
currently lacks state authority to handle controlled substances and 
thus, the Respondent cannot remain registered by the DEA. [Id. at 2].
    For the reasons set forth below, I will grant the Government's 
Motion and recommend that the Administrator revoke the Respondent's DEA 
Certificate of Registration. But, I note that, pursuant to 21 CFR 
1301.13(a) (2012), the Respondent may apply for a new DEA Certificate 
of Registration at any time.

II. Discussion

A. Respondent Currently Lacks Authority To Handle Controlled Substances 
In Florida

    The DEA will not maintain a controlled substances registration if 
the registrant is without state authority to handle controlled 
substances in the state in which the registrant practices. The 
Controlled Substances Act (``CSA'') provides that obtaining a DEA 
registration is conditional on holding a state license to handle 
controlled substances. See 21 U.S.C. 802(21) (2006) (defining 
``practitioner'' as ``a physician * * * licensed, registered, or 
otherwise permitted, by * * * the jurisdiction in which he practices * 
* * to distribute, dispense, [or] administer * * * a controlled 
substance in the course of professional practice''); 21 U.S.C. 823(f) 
(2006) (``the Attorney General shall register practitioners * * * if 
the applicant is authorized to dispense * * * controlled substances 
under the laws of the State in which he practices''). The DEA, 
therefore, has consistently held that the CSA requires the DEA to 
revoke the registration of a practitioner who no longer possesses a 
state license to handle controlled substances. See 21 U.S.C. 824(a)(3) 
(2006) (stating ``a registration may be suspended or revoked by the 
Attorney General upon a finding that the registrant has had his State 
license or

[[Page 7815]]

registration suspended, revoked or denied by competent State 
authority''); Beverley P. Edwards, M.D., 75 FR 49,991 (DEA 2010); 
Joseph Baumstarck, M.D., 74 FR 17,525 (DEA 2009).
    In this case, the Respondent does not dispute that he currently 
lacks state authority to handle controlled substances. However, the 
Respondent argues that his current state medical license suspension is 
temporary, as he and the Florida Department of Health are currently 
involved in settlement negotiations in which he anticipates that he 
will regain his Florida medical license. [Respondent's Response at 1-
3]. Respondent argues that his DEA registration should not be revoked 
because he will soon likely regain his state medical license in the 
state of Florida. [Id. at 2-3]. However, the Emergency Suspension from 
the Florida Department of Health effectively suspends the Respondent's 
license to practice medicine in the state of Florida. Regardless of 
whether the Respondent and the Florida Department of Health eventually 
decide upon a settlement agreement in which the Respondent's state 
license is reinstated, the Respondent currently lacks the necessary 
state authority to practice medicine and handle controlled substances 
in Florida. Consequently, his DEA registration must be revoked. See 
Joseph Baumstarck, M.D., 74 FR 17,525, 17,527 (DEA 2009) (stating that 
``a practitioner may not maintain his DEA registration if he lacks 
state authority to handle controlled substances under the laws of the 
state in which he practices''); Treasure Coast Specialty Pharmacy, 76 
FR 66,965 (DEA 2011); Roy Chi Lung, M.D., 74 FR 20,346 (DEA 2009); 
Gabriel Sagun Orzame, M.D., 69 FR 58,959 (DEA 2004).
    While the Respondent argues that his state license may be 
reinstated in the future, this possibility is immaterial in light of 
the Respondent's current lack of state registration. Indeed, the CSA 
and Agency precedent make clear that as a prerequisite to registration 
the Respondent must have state authority to handle controlled 
substances, and that without such authority all other issues before 
this forum are moot. See 21 U.S.C. 802(21); 21 U.S.C. 823(f); Joseph 
Baumstarck, M.D., 74 FR at 17,527 (DEA 2009). Thus, because there is no 
dispute that the Respondent lacks state authority to handle controlled 
substances, the Respondent's registration must be revoked.

B. Respondent Is Entitled To Reapply for Registration With the DEA

    Any person who is required to register with the DEA may apply for 
registration at any time. 21 CFR 1301.13(a) (2012) (``Any person who is 
required and who is not registered may apply for registration at any 
time. No person required to be registered shall engage in any activity 
for which registration is required until the application for 
registration is granted and a Certificate of Registration is issued by 
the Administrator to such person'').
    The Respondent is permitted to reapply for a Certificate of 
Registration with the DEA at any time in the future. 21 CFR 1301.13(a). 
However, the Respondent will not be permitted to engage in activity for 
which a registration is required until his application is granted by 
the DEA. Id.

III. Conclusion, Order, and Recommendation

    Consequently, there is no genuine dispute of material fact 
regarding the Respondent's lack of state authority to handle controlled 
substances. Thus, summary disposition for the Government is 
appropriate. It is well settled that when there is no question of 
material fact involved, there is no need for a plenary, administrative 
hearing. See Michael G. Dolin, M.D., 65 FR 5,661 (DEA 2000). Here, 
there is no genuine dispute that the Respondent currently lacks state 
authority to practice medicine and to handle controlled substances in 
Florida.
    Accordingly, I hereby
    grant the Government's Motion for Summary Disposition.
    I also forward this case to the Administrator for final 
disposition. I recommend that the Respondent's DEA Certificate of 
Registration, Number FT0896754, be revoked.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The sole basis of my recommendation is the loss of 
Respondent's state licensure. I make no findings or conclusions 
concerning the other allegations asserted in the Order to Show 
Cause.

    Dated: September 25, 2012.
Gail A. Randall,
Administrative Law Judge.
[FR Doc. 2013-02232 Filed 2-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-09-P