Sterling Doctor Charged With Prescribing Prescription Drugs - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sterling Doctor Charged With Prescribing Prescription Drugs Illegally

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An update to a story TV6 has been following since 2011. Sterling doctor Dr. Richard Ng has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 89 counts of tax fraud and illegally prescribing prescription medication. His wife, Lee Lee "Audrey" Foong, is also facing several charges. Court documents say Dr. Ng's prescriptions led to the deaths of 3 people. The documents go on to say all 3 people died as a result of medication Dr. Ng prescribed.

In 2010, a federal investigation began into Dr. Ng's practice, "Sauk Medical Clinic". Dr. Ng ran 2 clinics; one in Sterling and another one in De Kalb. Both clinics were raided by Drug Enforcement Agency officers in 2011 and the practices were shut down later that year. The doctor and his wife were arrested Wednesday and plead not guilty to the charges.

When Dr. Richard Ng's practice was shut down back in October of 2011, a 150 of his patients were sent to the Whiteside County Community Health Clinic. Doctors and administrators were left scrambling, trying to treat all of those patients. 18-months later they say things have finally started to get back to normal.

"The patients either had surgeries, went into pain clinics, or were weaned off prescription drugs," says Beth Fiorini, Executive Director of the Whiteside County Community Health Clinic.

Fiorini worked with Dr. Ng's patients for other health related issues before the practice was shut down.

"It was hard to coordinate their care, because they were doing this and not telling us," adds Fiorini, "We were pretty aware that a lot of patients were going to him."

Federal documents say Dr. Ng started prescribing prescription drugs illegally in 2007. Papers show the 3 deaths all happened in 2008 and the alleged activity continued until 2011.

"I think it took a long time for them prove anything," says Fiorini.

It's been a difficult recovery over the past 18-months, not just for Ng's former patients, but also the clinics staff.

"There was a lot of tears from patients who didn't understand why this was going on," says Fiorini, "The staff was upset, because they getting yelled at all the time by the patients.

Fiorini still worries about patients who have not overcome their addictions.

"Once we could not meet their needs or their desire to continue to get their medication, they found other ways to get it," adds Fiorini, "I'm sure some of them are on the street buying."

Dr. Ng is scheduled to appear federal court in Rockford Friday morning.