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Pharmacy: Chargers doctor did not write illegal prescriptions

SAN DIEGO -- A pharmacy that provided controlled substances to some NFL teams said Thursday that a Chargers doctor being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration wasn't writing prescriptions for himself.

Michael L. Lipman, an attorney for RSF Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement that Dr. David Chao didn't write prescriptions for himself that were filled by the company and that drugs provided to the Chargers were for use by the team's medical staff to treat players.

DEA agents learned Chao apparently had written at least 108 drug prescriptions to himself since June 10, 2008, which would violate controlled-substance regulations, according to recently unsealed search warrant affidavits.

RSF Pharmaceuticals and RSF Pharmaceuticals Inc., voluntarily surrendered their federal registration numbers on June 30, the day after the DEA served 10 administrative inspection warrants within San Diego County, including at the offices of the Chargers and Major League Baseball's Padres. RSF Pharmaceuticals can no longer distribute prescriptions to the teams it once served.

The DEA investigation comes several weeks after the Chargers released safety Kevin Ellison, who was arrested in May in Redondo Beach on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance. Police said a search of Ellison's vehicle turned up 100 Vicodin pills.

The Chargers have said that Ellison didn't receive the Vicodin from anyone associated with the team.

Lipman's statement was released by his law firm and the Chargers' public relations department.

"We wish to correct mistaken media reports about Dr. David Chao," Lipman's statement said. "Dr. Chao did not write prescriptions for himself filled through RSF Pharmaceuticals, and the prescription drugs distributed by RSF Pharmaceuticals to the Chargers were for use by the Chargers medical staff to treat players. Any other interpretation of the records maintained by RSF Pharmaceuticals or reports made by RSF Pharmaceuticals relating to prescription drugs furnished to Dr. Chao is erroneous.

"RSF Pharmaceuticals has served as a pharmacy for many NFL teams, as well as for other sports teams and organizations for many years," the statement continued. "The National Football League requires that all its teams prepare their prescription drug audits using software which tracks the distribution of prescription medications. We regret that routine reports provided to regulatory authorities have created the erroneous impression that Dr. Chao had been writing prescriptions for himself which were filled through RSF Pharmaceuticals. To our knowledge, that was never the case."

Chao's lawyer, James N. Godes, issued a statement late Thursday.

"After all of the unfair and irresponsible accusations that have been leveled at Dr. Chao over the past few weeks, it is about time that the truth has come to light," Godes said.

"I would only be speculating as to why it has taken so long for the truth to come out, but better late than never. Winston Churchill had it right: 'A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.' Hopefully, RSF's statement will put the rampant accusations and rumor mongering to bed."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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