Red Bank, Cherry Hill doctors careless with narcotics scrips, state investigators say
A Monmouth County podiatrist undergoes temporary license suspension by state medical examiners, and a Camden County psychiatrist's license is permanently revoked, amid allegations of prescribing addictive drugs without medical substantiation.
The New Jersey Attorney General's Office and the state Division of Consumer Affairs allege that Dr. James Ludden of Red Bank authorized narcotic prescriptions beyond the scope of his practice for 13 people, one of whom was found dead in a hotel room.
Investigators accused Ludden of prescribing Adderall, generic Xanax and Ativan, and testoserone. In one case, Ludden allegedly prescribed fentanyl, morphine sulfate, and generic Xanax and Dilauded to a man and his 93-year-old mother.
According to authorities, Ludden admitted having not examined the woman, but including her as a "favor" to the patient, who was found dead in a hotel during his son's wedding. The AG's office did not specify the cause and manner of death. The suspension remains in effect pending further action.
Dr. Thomas Newmark of Cherry Hill surrendered his license to resolve findings that he prescribed drugs classified as controlled dangerous substances (CDS) without legitimate medical reasons.
The Board of Medical Examiners probed Newmark's practice upon learning of his dismissal from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, where allegations of indiscriminate CDS prescriptions arose, authorities said. Investigators reached their conclusions after interviewing Newmark.
"Physicians who indiscriminately prescribe highly addictive narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose are feeding the alarming rise in opioid addiction and overdose deaths plaguing our state," Attorney General Christopher Porrino in prepared remarks.
"Keeping prescription pads out of the hands of unscrupulous doctors is a key component in our fight against the opioid and heroin crisis gripping New Jersey."
Patients who believe that they have been treated inappropriately by licensed health care professionals can file an online complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA), or report it via phone, 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free in New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.