PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pinellas Park doctor was arrested on Tuesday after detectives said she sold over 550 illegitimate prescriptions to patients, including undercover Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
According to a release from the sheriff’s office, deputies began investigating Dr. Neelam Uppal, 62, on May 11 after receiving a tip about fraudulent prescriptions being sold out of her home, as well as her business in Clearwater. Uppal is listed as an infectious disease doctor and deputies said that she is on probationary status with the Florida Department of Health.
Detectives said Uppal has sold over 550 promethazine codeine syrup prescriptions and hundreds of oxycodone prescriptions since January 2022.
“Dr. Uppal has been preying on drug addicts for several years,” the sheriff’s office said.
Uppal allegedly sold codeine syrup and oxycodone prescriptions to undercover detectives without seeing, examining or speaking to them. Detectives said they were prescribed the medications after paying $650 and $450 in cash for the codeine syrup and oxycodone prescriptions, respectively.
The sheriff’s office said they searched Uppal’s home and business on Tuesday. While detectives were searching the home, two people reportedly showed up to the house to obtain fraudulent prescriptions from Uppal.
Detectives said they found filled out and empty prescription pads, handwritten ledgers and “minimal patient records and documents”. They also found over $1.9 million in cash and $175,000 worth of gold bars and jewelry, which photos show was hidden in suitcases.
Deputies charged Uppal with three counts of trafficking in codeine and three counts of trafficking in oxycodone. The Drug Enforcement Administration was also present at the arrest, serving Uppal with a civil injunction to revoke her ability to prescribe medication.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said their narcotics division will “continue to pursue doctors who are preying on addicts and contribute to doctor shopping”.