December 03, 2015
Contact: Timothy P. McMahon
Phone Number: (973) 776-1100
New Jersey Board Of Medical Examiners Suspends License Of North Arlington Physician For Indiscriminate Prescribing Of Powerful Pain Killers And Other Violations
NEWARK, N.J. - -Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division and John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General for the State of New Jersey announced that the State Board of Medical Examiners has temporarily suspended the medical license of Dr. Eric Thomas, effective December 4.
The Board found that he indiscriminately prescribed powerful prescription pain killers to patients, and did not take appropriate action when patients apparently could have been illegally diverting these pain killers to others. The Board also found that Thomas failed to act when urine tests revealed that his patients were taking illegal narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin. The urine tests also showed no presence of the pain killers that Thomas had prescribed a warning sign that patients were not taking the pain killers, but instead may have been providing the pills to others.
In reviewing six patient records presented by the State, the Board found that Thomas did not document appropriate physical examinations of the patients; did not document patient medical histories; did not create treatment plans; and did not perform or order diagnostic testing. The State maintained that Thomas’ conduct constituted gross negligence that “endangered the life, health, welfare or safety” of his patients.
“Prescription drug abuse, particularly abuse involving pain killers, is a national problem, one that Dr. Thomas abetted through his negligent practice of medicine,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “The flood of prescription pain killers in our communities starts with indiscriminate prescribing by physicians violating their duty to ‘do no harm.’”
“Patient safety is the cornerstone of the physician-patient relationship, and we allege Dr. Thomas did not put the safety of his patients first,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Faced with the serious allegations against Dr. Thomas, the Board acted appropriately to make certain that patients are not put in harm’s way.”
Thomas, who has his office in North Arlington, prescribed painkillers for his patients without adequate medical justification, including Oxycodone, OxyContin, and others.
The Board also found that Thomas failed to appropriately respond when he discovered some patients had high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, and other medical conditions.
The interim license suspension is indefinite, pending the outcome of the plenary hearing on the State’s Verified Complaint.
Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation of this matter, in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the North Arlington Police Department.