Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

News

The Doctor is Out: Downey M.D. Pleads Guilty to Selling Painkillers

pills2.jpg
Photo by Mark Luethi via the LAist Featured Photos pool
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

A doctor with clinics in Downey and Westlake plead guilty today for selling prescriptions to highly addictive painkillers to people who had no known need for the medications, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Nazar Al Bussam, 72, was arrested in October of last year after undercover agents bought prescriptions for various medications from him for $200 for the first prescription, and $100 for each additional one. Al Bussam had come under suspicion in 2007 after he was found to be one of the top ten prescribers of controlled substances in the LA area, and after several of his so-called patients got arrested for dealing drugs.

He admitted to selling prescriptions for oxycodone, Vicodin, Xanax and cough syrup with codeine, which is used to make certain street drugs.

“Doctor Al Bussam abused his position to line his pockets by supplying narcotics to people involved in street-level drug dealing,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. in a statement. “In doing so, Al Bussam violated his oath to ‘do no harm’ and contributed to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.”

Following his guilty plea, Al Bussam faces 230 years in federal prison, a lifetime period of supervised release, and a fine of up to $11.5 million. For now, he's agreed to forfeit $450,000 that was seized during his arrest. He was estimated to have made more than $1 million a year selling prescriptions.