Contact 13 Investigates
Accused drug-dealing doctor stripped of license
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A former hospital chief has been stripped of his license to practice medicine. State authorities say he poses an imminent risk of harm to the public's health, safety and welfare.
It's the latest in a string of actions taken against this troubled doctor.
On March 1, Dr. Vinay Bararia was arrested in the parking lot of Centennial Hills hospital. Metro officers seized more than 2,000 oxycodone pills and $3,000 cash from the doctor's Jaguar during the arrest.
In a federal criminal complaint, Bararia is charged with the repeated illegal sales of the highly addictive painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone to undercover officers between July and November of 2011.
The drug deals reportedly went down in the parking lots of Centennial Hills hospital and the nearby Kopper Keg.
To get out of jail after the March arrest, Dr. Bararia voluntarily surrendered his DEA certificate and was prohibited from ordering, prescribing, possessing or dispensing controlled substances.
But he was re-arrested in May after the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners says he ordered controlled substances 11 more times at Centennial Hills hospital--where he was co-chair of medicine until the end of 2010. He remained on staff there through mid-April of this year.
"He doesn't touch any prescription medicine. He doesn't touch any controlled substance, he merely orders the medicine as the protocol calls for the patient's treatment," Attorney Michael Cristalli explains of his client's role as hospital physician.
But the Medical Board believes the prescriptions he allegedly ordered and/or prescribed at the hospital was a "blatant violation of federal and state prescribing laws" under the conditions of his pre-trial release.
And they say that makes him a risk to the patients he now sees at his private practice, Nevada Medical Associates, on North Tenaya.
"I don't know that there's any evidence that in the course and commission of his practice that he did anything wrong. In fact, the evidence is directly to the contrary," Cristalli says.
Bararia was indicted in June by a federal grand jury. The indictment is based on a criminal complaint, which accuses the doctor of selling nearly $50,000 dollars worth of painkillers to undercover cops.
He was ordered to forfeit that money, along with his Jaguar XK and his 45-caliber Glock pistol, which authorities believe was used or intended to be used in his drug trade.
According to the criminal complaint, Bararia told the undercover officer that his supplier had driven to seven different places in California to get the pills.
He also told police at one point that he could get cocaine, but he's not accused of selling that.
The criminal case is in the discovery phase.
As for his medical license, there will be a hearing coming up before the State Board in the next two months where his lawyer will argue that he should get it back.
"The decision by the Medical Board to arbitrarily take the license away, especially in light of the fact that one of the issues is the indictment, is premature," Cristalli believes, "because as we all know, an indictment is merely an accusation."
Centennial Hospital says Dr. Bararia no longer has membership or clinical privileges to practice at their hospital. Bararia's attorney told Contact 13 that the doctor has lost his hospital privileges at every hospital in the Valley.