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Maui doctor with Hilo office faces federal charges related to opioid prescriptions

A Maui doctor who also has a Hilo office is facing six federal charges of unlawfully distributing the semi-synthetic opioid painkiller hydrocodone.

According to U.S. Attorney Kenji Price, an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent posed as a new patient seeking prescriptions for opioid medications at the Kahului, Maui, office of Dr. Paul A. Kaiwi.

The agent allegedly had six appointments with Kaiwi at his Progressive Medical office between December 2018 and May 2019.

According to a statement from Price’s office, the 51-year-old Kaiwi, who lives in Wailuku, Maui, conducted little or no medical history or physical examination, and often provided a prescription within minutes of entering the examination room.

In each of the six visits, Kaiwi allegedly provided the undercover agent a prescription for between 84 and 90 pills of hydrocodone. He also allegedly falsified medical records to indicate he performed musculoskeletal examinations during the undercover agent’s visits, but video footage reveals no examination at all during four of the visits and only a partial examination during two visits, according to the statement.

Hydrocodone is a moderately potent, orally available opioid that, in combination with acetaminophen, is widely used for treatment of acute or chronic pain, and is marketed as Vicodin.

DEA analysis of state prescription data for prescriptions written by Kaiwi reveal that 277 of his patients received prescriptions with an aggregate MME (morphine milligram equivalents) of twice the upper limit recommended by the Centers for Disease Contro.

DEA analysis also revealed that 66 of those patients received prescriptions with aggregate MME per day of five times the upper limit recommended by the CDC.

The charges include six counts of unlawful distribution of a schedule II controlled substance, for which each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years and a fine of not more than $1 million.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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