LOS ANGELES — An investigation finds California patients are at risk from reckless prescribing by doctors because of a lack of oversight at the state Medical Board.

The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/SWhvgp) reports regulators seldom try to suspend the prescribing privileges of physicians under investigation for overprescribing.

At least 30 patients in Southern California have died of drug overdoses or related causes while their doctors were under investigation. The board ultimately sanctioned all but one of those 12 doctors, and some were criminally charged.

The newspaper says even when the board sanctions doctors for abusing their prescribing powers, in most cases it allows them to continue practicing and writing prescriptions.

In response to the Times' findings, officials have asked the Legislature to require county coroners to report all prescription drug deaths to the board.


Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com