Evidence sufficient to hold Encino doctor for trial - judge

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A judge ruled there is enough evidence to hold an Encino doctor for trial. He is accused of selling prescription drugs. (KABC)

In a preliminary hearing Wednesday, a judge ruled there is sufficient evidence to hold an Encino doctor for trial after he was accused of illegally selling prescription drugs.

According to prosecutors, this is the second time Dr. Yahya Hedvat has been arrested for allegedly selling a controlled substance. Hedvat is awaiting trial in a similar case.

Footage from a hidden camera shows a confidential informant buying pills for recreational use, allegedly from Hedvat.

In the video, the confidential informant shows money to a doctor, believed to be Hedvat. There is murmuring in Farsi, and the doctor waves away the cash. But minutes later, there is a transaction in the parking lot with Hormuz Nikravan, who describes himself as a friend of Hedvat.

The money is exchanged for drugs -- 12 pills for $120 -- according to Deputy District Attorney John Niedermann.

What is especially alarming to the medical board, which conducted the operation, is that Hedvat was arrested just eight months earlier on charges of illegally selling prescription meds. He was under court order to halt prescribing medicine altogether, pending his criminal trial on 10 felony counts.

Norco, also known as hydrocodone, is a highly desired drug of abuse, according to the Federal Drug Administration. Ativan, an anti-anxiety med, is also addictive.

The FDA says prescription drugs account for about 3/4 of all drug overdose dose deaths in the U.S.

The Hedvat case is one of a growing number. According to the prosecutor, four years ago there was only one doctor in L.A. County under investigation for alleged over-prescribing. Today, he says the D.A.'s office gets calls every day. They come from the coroner, who identifies suspicious drug deaths, and from parents who say their children are obtaining excessive prescription drugs without any medical need.

In some cases, the warning comes too late.

Dr. Lisa Tseng of Rowland Heights settled 12 wrongful death cases. She now awaits trial in criminal court for six victims.

An undercover camera was also used in the prosecution of Dr. Alvin Yee. He pleaded guilty to prescribing drugs for patients who, in some cases, he never saw.

As for Hedvat, his defense questions the validity of the undercover video, and whether he actually had a role in the transaction.

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prescription drugsdoctor arrestedEncino
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