A Chesapeake doctor who admitted to giving prescriptions to people he hadn’t examined was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison.
Dr. Lopito Bugarin, 66, pleaded guilty in August to one count of distribution of amphetamine as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar. The judge also ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine and serve three years of probation after his release.
Between 2016 and May 2019, Bugarin wrote prescriptions for multiple patients without examining them first, according to court documents. Many were for Adderall, a drug commonly given to people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder to improve their concentration and focus.
Sometimes, the doctor provided the prescriptions when he was out of town and left behind pre-signed prescription pads, the court documents said. He occasionally wrote them out for multiple names but gave them to a single patient.
An undercover investigator who visited the doctor’s office reported he was able to get a prescription for Adderall by telling Bugarin he liked the way the drug made him feel.
Defense attorney Diane Toscano asked that her client be placed on home confinement. She wrote in a position paper to the court that the doctor, who grew up in poverty in the Philippines and went to medical school there, didn’t realize what he was doing was illegal.
“Much of the (evidence) in this case was from times that Dr. Bugarin traveled out of state for health reasons or to visit family,” Toscano wrote.
“During those times of travel, Dr. Bugarin would leave presigned prescription pads at his office that his staff would use to give to patients who needed prescriptions. Dr. Bugarin now realizes how reckless of an act this was. At the time, he thought he was helping his patients by not making them wait to receive a prescription if needed.”
Jane Harper, 757-222-5097, firstname.lastname@example.org