Doctor arrested in Clearwater for drug trafficking

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) — Narcotics detectives arrested a doctor in Clearwater for writing and selling fraudulent prescriptions.

According to detectives, on May 11, detectives received information about 62-year-old Dr. Neelam Uppal as a possible source for writing the illegal prescriptions, especially for Promethazine Codeine Syrup and Oxycodone. Detectives learned since January 2022 that Uppal has sold more than five hundred and fifty (550) Promethazine Codeine Syrup prescriptions and hundreds of Oxycodone prescriptions. Detectives say that Dr. Uppal has been hunting drug addicts for years.

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Over the course of the investigation, Uppal prescribed both Promethazine Codeine Syrup and Oxycodone to undercover detectives without ever seeing, investigating, or talking to them. Detectives received the prescriptions upon payment of $650 cash for each Promethazine Codeine Syrup prescription and $450 cash for each Oxycodone prescription.

Uppal is listed as an infectious disease doctor, and detectives say the Florida Department of Health shows Uppal is on probation.

On July 26, 2022, detectives issued a search warrant at Uppal’s home and business. Uppal mainly conducted business from her hometown. While detectives were at Uppal’s residence, two individuals arrived to obtain additional fraudulent prescriptions.

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Detectives found the following items in the search:

  • Multiple recipe pads
  • Minimal patient records and documents
  • Multiple handwritten ledgers
  • Multiple prescriptions filled with different patient names
  • $1,906,483.00 in US Currency
  • Gold bars and jewelry worth about $175,000

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Uppal was charged with three counts of trafficking in Codeine and three counts of trafficking in Oxycodone. She was taken into custody and transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was also present and served Uppal with a civil order to revoke its authority to further prescribe drugs.

The Narcotics Department of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will continue to pursue doctors who prey on drug addicts and contribute to doctor shopping.

The investigation continues.

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