March 30, 2020  Last Update: November 12, 2019, 4:01 pm

83 Year Old “Bold Prescriber” Challenges DEA on Pain Killers

Eighty-three year old Dr. Edward Manougian of the East Bay area in California is currently under investigation for his prescribing practices. The FBI, the Human Services Office of the Inspector General of California, and the DEA have all subpoenaed his medical records. Dr. Manougian is what is known as a “bold prescriber” of opioid painkillers.

How bold? In one example cited by a pharmacist (who ultimately reported him to the Medical Board of California in November 2007), patients were prescribed a cocktail of 1,100 pills per month. This included the opioid painkillers Valium and Soma. According to reports, that specific complaint led to revocation of the doctor’s license to write prescriptions in California (see sources below).

According to the reporting, at least 3 of Dr. Manougian’s patients have died as a result of drug overdoses. The “bold prescriber” does not believe his prescribing caused those deaths. In his defense, Dr. Manougian allegedly cites state law that says no doctor can be disciplined for prescribing to a patient with intractable pain. “Whatever it takes,” Manougian said, “that’s what the Intractable Pain (Treatment) Act says.”

"Whatever it takes," Manougian said, "that’s what the Intractable Pain (Treatment) Act says."
- Dr. Edward Manougian

Dr. Manougian is testing the policies of the drug diversion efforts of the DEA and law enforcement, in the realm of prescription pain killers. If the Dr. is required to help the suffering patient, and the law clearly grants hiom the power to do “whatever it takes”, then what is wrong with prescribing deadly doses of opioids?

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"Bold Prescriber" writes scripts for cocktail of 1,100 pills per month, to help pain clinic patients in CA
83 year old doc challenges DEA on painkillers, asserts right to do "whatever it takes" to battle chronic pain

The question for you, dear reader, is :

When can government drug enforcement efforts safely (and legally) intervene with a doctor’s orders?

California previously prosecuted a high-prescribing doctor, who was referred to as “Dr. Feel Good” for her painkiller prescribing practices. Both Walgreens pharmacy in Florida and CVS pharmacy in Florida have been subjected to DEA scrutiny for pain killer prescribing practices, and at least one CVS branch in Florida was busted for sloppy prescription processing.  CVS blacklisted some pain clinic doctors in Florida, some of whom later sued CVS for defamation. New York has its own prescription drug task force examining pain killer prescribing practices.

More Resources:

  • Oakland Tribune reports
  • California Watch  item
  • Another California Watch  item


  1. […] by an enforcement agency to override physician orders. One physician the DEA labeled a “bold prescriber” has been fighting the DEA over the issue, and at least one pain doctor in Florida has sued a […]

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