A New Jersey doctor is facing serious drug charges after federal agents performed an undercover investigation into her psychiatry practice.
Earlier this year, parents of some of her patients were concerned after learning that the doctor had been over-prescribing the medication oxycodone. Though the doctor has a valid license to prescribe this kind of drug, the parents reported their suspicions to the police who then launched the investigation.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the woman prescribed oxycodone to an undercover agent posing as a patient even though there was no medical reason to. Instead of performing an exam to determine whether the patient needed the drug, the doctor allegedly wrote the prescription in exchange for cash.
The doctor has pleaded not guilty to the drug charges, stating that she would not prescribe oxycodone unless the patient needed it. However investigators allege that she admitted to writing the prescriptions for her patients without examining them or documenting the prescriptions. While she claims that charges are unsubstantiated, she has had formal complaints lodged against her in the past regarding prescription practices.
Given the seriousness of the charges, the doctor was released on a $1 million dollar bail until her next court appearance. If she is convicted of the crime, illegally prescribing a dangerous controlled substance, she could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. Not only that, but she would not be able to practice medicine again.
The information gathered in the undercover operation will likely be used against her. It will be important for her to make sure she protects her rights and mounts a good defense since she has pleaded not guilty.
Source: North Jersey: "84-year-old Wayne psychiatrist arrested on drug charges is free on $1M bail," Richard Cowen, John C. Ensslin and Matthew McGrath, Aug. 16, 2011.