California doctor who ran opioid pill mill convicted

A doctor was convicted Friday of illegally issuing hundreds of opioids and other drug prescriptions at several locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley, including in a back room of a nail salon, federal prosecutors announced.

Edmund Kemprud, 78, of Dublin, was convicted of 14 counts of illegally prescribing hydrocodone, alprazolam and oxycodone — all highly addictive — to patients who did not medically require them, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California announced.

Kemprud charged $79 per visit and churned out prescriptions so quickly he would see at least 30 patients in a day. He worked in several Bay Area and Central Valley locations, including in the back room of a nail salon and medical spa, where patients received nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, in the city of Tracy, federal prosecutors said.

Undercover officers testified that between Sept. 6, 2018, and March 13, 2019, Kemprud prescribed opioids on 14 occasions without determining the patients’ medical and prescription histories, without conducting a proper medical examination, without confirming the legitimacy of the patients’ complaints, and without assessing the risk of aberrant drug behavior, they said.

Several pharmacies were so troubled by Kemprud’s prescriptions that they instituted policies to not fill them, prosecutors said.

"It took the effort of agents, investigators, undercover officers, medical professionals who practiced with the defendant and pharmacists to bring an end to Kemprud’s illicit prescription writing," Talbert said.

Several state and federal government agencies investigated the case, including the California Department of Justice, the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Drug Diversion Team and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"Fueled by greed, Edmund Kemprud went from doctor to drug dealer when he began running a prescription pill mill for powerful opioids," DEA Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon said. "Kemprud’s actions not only preyed upon those battling addiction but also contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis."

Kemprud is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 14 and faces up to 20 years in prison.