Spokane naturopath to pay $50K civil penalty for improperly prescribing controlled substances


SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane naturopath will pay nearly $50,000 for improperly prescribing controlled substances. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington says Christopher M. Valley, N.D. improperly prescribed at least 318 controlled substances between December 2015 and December 2020. 

Valley acknowledged he prescribed stimulants like modafinil, the sedative pregabalin, the diet drug phentermine, the sleep aid zopidem and ketamine, even though he was only authorized to prescribe codeine and testosterone products. 

“I am relieved that it does not appear anyone was seriously harmed by any medications prescribed by Dr. Valley, and I am heartened by Dr. Valley’s acknowledgment of his conduct and commitment to strict compliance going forward.  But when a healthcare practitioner prescribes controlled substances that he is not qualified or authorized to prescribe, the public is placed at risk of potentially dangerous side effects, drug interactions, and contraindications,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref. 

“Dr. Valley’s careless and irresponsible prescribing habits violated federal law and constituted a serious breach of his naturopathic license, which presented a clear and present danger to the health and safety of our communities,” said Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Seattle Field Division.  “We will continue to work with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners in the relentless pursuit of all those involved in the trafficking of opioids and other controlled substances.”