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Former physician is sentenced for illegally prescribing opioids


Had ‘patients’ across the country

A former physician from Antelope Valley has been sentenced to over three years in federal prison for illegally dispensing prescriptions for often-abused controlled substances–including  opioid-based medications–during telephonic sessions with “patients'' from across the United States.

Raphael Tomas Malikian, 39, who lives in Llano and Palmdale, was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and serve three years supervised release following his 37-month prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Malikian pleaded guilty in October in downtown Los Angeles to one count of aiding and abetting the acquisition of a controlled substance by fraud and one count of distribution of oxycodone.

The Medical Board of California suspended Malikian's medical license in November 2021. His license expired a year later.

From at least December 2019 to August 2021, Malikian was a licensed physician and, in this role, was authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe medication. He also owned and operated Happy Family Medicine, a medical clinic that was advertised as being in a co-working space in Hollywood, but primarily offered health services via telephone or text message communications.

Malikian admitted issuing prescriptions for controlled substances to customers without first obtaining the person's full medical history, conducting a physical examination, requiring medical testing or utilizing diagnostic tools. He did not verify his customers' identities before prescribing

controlled substances, and allowed customers to obtain prescriptions in the names of others, according to his plea agreement.

Among other things, Malikian issued hundreds of false prescriptions for liquid promethazine with codeine–known on the street as “lean'' or “purple drank''--often to people he knew were fictitious patients and which totaled more than 82 liters -- and directed them to be sent to various

pharmacies across the nation for co-conspirators to obtain, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Malikian worked with two associates who provided the then-doctor with false names, addresses and dates of birth. Malikian then issued controlled substance prescriptions accordingly, which the co-conspirators filled and re-sold on the black market.

Many of Malikian's fraudulent controlled substance prescriptions contained notes on the prescriptions or accompanying documentation that falsely urged pharmacies not to verify such prescriptions because medications were needed and the failure to dispense could be life-threatening because of the COVID-19 pandemic.