Former North Carolina physician sentenced to 78 months for pill mill

Former physician John Whan Kim was sentenced to 78 months in prison for unlawful distribution of opioids and cannabis, the Justice Department said April 7.

Mr. Kim opened a clinic in Tabor City, N.C., after being forced to resign from his previous practice over concerns about his opioid prescribing practices. From October 2017 to June 2018, he illegally prescribed opioids and other controlled substances to people who paid $200 cash at each appointment, the department said.

He wrote controlled substance prescriptions to virtually every patient he saw, the department said, despite rarely conducting a physical examination, having the patient's medical records or considering alternative treatments, the department said. Mr. Kim also had evidence of patient misuse and diversion of the substances he prescribed.

A nearby elementary school had to restrict outdoor activities for students until a privacy fence was constructed, due to the volume of patients and associated activity in the parking lot of the clinic, the department said.

Mr. Kim pled guilty to the charges on December 28 and was required to surrender all medical licenses. Mr. Kim is prohibited from ever practicing medicine again.

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