Can a Doctor be Convicted of Murder for Overprescribing Pills?

The answer is yes, and this just recently happened in Los Angeles, California. This was the first doctor to ever be convicted of murder in US history for over prescribing prescription medication.

Hsui Tseng was convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years to life for over prescribing pills (Oxycodone and more) to addicts that resulted in 3 deaths. Each individual was a young man who it seemed came across an addiction to these pills that started out as regular use from some sort of injury. Ms. Tseng catered to young individuals who would travel long distances for these pills and would prescribe them to them without any medical examinations done or need for the pills. To most people, this seems like something that is out of the ordinary but it should be known that this type of behavior is starting to happen more and more often in the US. Sometimes these doctors can make millions of dollars a year, mostly in cash, selling these prescriptions to patients. They do not practice medicine anymore while doing this; they just have an office only to write out pain medication prescription. Tseng, made 5 million dollars in the three years she was doing this. That 5 million dollars came at the cost of the lives for three young individuals. Some of these doctors even have criminal defense attorneys on staff to protect them from this.

What can be done to stop this?

It is hard to have oversight on something like this but the states or the federal government should be keeping tabs on how much narcotic drugs are being prescribed to each person. The states do their best to try to see how much of a certain medication someone is prescribing but it is quite common that doctors can be doing this and fall under the radar. A potential system in the future that recognizes when a doctor is over prescribing and sends out a red flag to a regulatory commission is potentially a good idea to try and combat this problem.

Now that the precedent has been set is this going to be a common thing in courts?

It might be, this was the first ever murder conviction for this, but if this doctor knowingly knew that these individuals had a problem with addiction, and that these pills were adverse to their health and they recklessly contributed to the situation, then that is murder. The Conrad Murray case was another example of this where he was prescribing Michael Jackson too much of a drug and subsequently caused him to die. Conrad Murray was convicted but he was not convicted of murder.