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MD's alleged ties to model probed

The state is reviewing an L.A. doctor after reports that Anna Nicole Smith obtained a methadone prescription from him under an alias.

February 16, 2007|Charles Proctor and Peter Y. Hong | Times Staff Writers

State medical officials said Thursday that they were conducting a review of a Los Angeles doctor who reportedly prescribed methadone to Anna Nicole Smith under an alias.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, who has an office in Studio City, came under scrutiny after information was brought to the attention of the Medical Board of California, Candis Cohen, spokeswoman for the Medical Board, said Thursday. She declined to provide details about the information except that it was related to Smith.

Cohen characterized the review as routine: "We're reviewing this as we would regarding potential misconduct by any physician."

The board's action followed a report on the celebrity website TMZ.com saying that Kapoor prescribed methadone to Michelle Chase on Aug. 25. TMZ.com said Michelle Chase is an alias used by Smith.

TMZ.com posted a document that it said was the prescription order issued by Kapoor for Chase to Key Pharmacy in Valley Village. The website also posted a document that it claimed was the air bill from Key Pharmacy to Vicky Marshall in the Bahamas. Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan; she married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall in 1994.

Kapoor's office declined to comment, as did Ira Freeman, owner of Key Pharmacy.

Cohen said the board is looking into, among other things, whether it is illegal for a doctor to prescribe medication to someone using an alias.

According to the board's website, Kapoor graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1996 and received his physician license July 1, 1998. He has incurred no previous disciplinary action.

The move by the medical board was just one of several developments in the aftermath of Smith's death; the former jeans model and Playboy Playmate was found dead Feb. 8 in her Hollywood, Fla., hotel suite. She was 39. The medical examiner has yet to determine the cause, but has ruled out violence.

In a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., courtroom Thursday, a judge held a hearing to determine who will receive Smith's remains; that hearing continues today. Smith's longtime companion, Howard K. Stern, says he is executor of her will and wants her buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Her estranged mother, Vergie Arthur, wants her buried in Texas.

And in Santa Monica, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, filed a paternity suit asserting that he fathered Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, Smith's 5-month-old daughter.

Stern, Smith's romantic partner, and Larry Birkhead, her ex-boyfriend, have also claimed to be Dannielynn's father.

Sporting a tweed jacket, jeans and brown cowboy boots and with a gold chain draped around his neck, Anhalt said he was determined to pursue his paternity claim. "I could never rest, I could never sleep, knowing that someone out there could be my child," he said before about two dozen cameras.

Anhalt, who has said he had a 10-year relationship with Smith, said he spoke with her shortly after her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died in September. He said she seemed "very upset" but "not suicidal."

Authorities determined that Daniel died from a lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressants.

Physicians can prescribe methadone, an opiate that can have effects similar to those of heroin, to patients for pain relief.

Clinics have used methadone to treat heroin addicts since the early 1970s, said Richard Rawson, a UCLA psychiatry professor.

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charles.proctor@latimes.com

peter.hong@latimes.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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