LOS ANGELES -- A doctor charged with murder in a prescription drug case made a brief court appearance Friday and her lawyer said afterward she will defend herself vigorously against the allegations.
Dr. Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng is charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the prescription drug overdose deaths of patients. She faces 21 other felony counts.
She is among only a handful of doctors nationwide to be charged with murder related to prescription drugs.
"She's ready to fight this," said her attorney, T. Edward Welbourn.
Welbourn is new to the case and was granted a continuance until March 16 to familiarize himself with it.
""It's an interesting issue when someone is charged with murder for something that happened when they weren't there," he said. "She had no control over what people did with their prescriptions."
Tseng was being held on $3 million bail and will seek release pending her trial, he said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration says Tseng wrote more than 27,000 prescriptions over a three-year period starting in January 2007 – an average of 25 a day.
Welbourn said the unusual charges against Tseng may be the fallout from recent, unrelated celebrity cases involving prescription drugs.
"She's an upstanding physician and member of her community," the lawyer said of his client. "Unfortunately for her, she's the example they're looking for."
Deputy District Attorney John Niedermann told Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba that he had turned over 14,762 pages of discovery in the case to Welbourn.
The files involve an investigation by county officials as well as the DEA and the California Medical Board.