MARCH 20 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) A Queens doctor was arrested this morning pursuant to a complaint charging him in federal court in Long Island with distribution of oxycodone, a highly-addictive prescription medicine used to treat severe pain. Dr. Gracia L. Mayard is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown at the U.S. Courthouse, Central Islip, New York. The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York; Thomas V. Dale, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department; and Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police.
This morning, as part of a federal and state prescription drug abuse initiative within the Eastern District of New York, Mayard was arrested by members of a DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, comprised of DEA agents, Nassau County Police Department detectives and the New York State Police Investigators, on charges of illegally distributing oxycodone between January 1, 2012 and March 15, 2013. According to the complaint, during the first nine months of 2012, Mayard issued 2,953 oxycodone prescriptions – 376,469 pills – to numerous individuals, without performing any meaningful medical examination and in exchange for cash. In some cases, Mayard issued the prescriptions without even meeting the purported patients. On February 6, 2013, when members of the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad contacted Mayard, he voluntarily surrendered his DEA registration authorizing him to prescribe controlled substances. However, the complaint alleges that three weeks later, on February 28, 2013, Mayard nevertheless issued a prescription for oxycodone. On March 13, 2013, a pharmacist, in the presence of DEA agents, called Mayard about the prescription. During the call, Mayard confirmed that he had issued the prescription and provided his surrendered DEA registration number, all in an effort to persuade the pharmacist to fill the oxycodone prescription.
“Instead of abiding by the charge to ‘do no harm,’ Mayard allegedly operated under the credo ‘where’s the money,’ placing profits above patient safety,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “When doctors participate in the diversion of addictive prescription drugs from their intended use they fuel drug abuse and addiction. We are committed to vigorous prosecution of this growing problem.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Nassau County Police Department and the New York State Police for their assistance in this investigation.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated, “Illegal prescribing is the white collar money making crime of the decade. We allege Dr. Mayard, with no regard to public safety, abused his position as a licensed doctor by prescribing pain medications to people with no legitimate medical need in exchange for cash. It is estimated that Dr. Mayard wrote prescriptions for over 9,000 pills of oxycodone per week affecting the availability of diverted medications in our community and on our streets. Over 26% of first time drug users began with non-medical use of prescription drugs and it is law enforcement’s concerted efforts to thwart both the supply and the demand.”
Superintendent of the New York State Police Joseph A. D’Amico stated, "Oxycodone is a highly addictive, often abused medication. It is unconscionable for a medical doctor to put nearly 400,000 doses of this drug out on the streets, knowing that it was going to be abused. I thank the members of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Nassau County Police Department for once again partnering with the New York State Police to put a stop to this diversion of pain medication."
Nassau County Police Commissioner Dale stated, “Addiction to prescription opiates is a burgeoning problem here on Long Island. In Nassau County, overdoses from these types of medications almost double that of overdoses from heroin. Our partnership in the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad and with the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York ensures that law enforcement is doing their part to keep these illegally prescribed drugs out of our communities.”
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1 million fine. The charges are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In January 2012, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the DEA, in conjunction with the five District Attorneys in this jurisdiction, the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, the New York City Police Department and New York State Police, along with other key federal, state and local government partners, launched the Prescription Drug Initiative to mount a comprehensive response to what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called an epidemic increase in the abuse of so-called opioid analgesics. So far, the Prescription Drug Initiative has brought over 120 federal and local criminal prosecutions, taken civil enforcement action against a pharmacy, removed prescription authority from numerous rogue doctors, and expanded information-sharing among enforcement agencies to better target and pursue drug traffickers. The Initiative also is involved in an extensive community outreach program to address the abuse of pharmaceuticals.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen L. Bode.
Name: GRACIA L. MAYARD