Oswego County Dentist Agrees to Pay $60,000 and Surrenders DEA Registration for Five Years Due to Office Staff’s Illegal Use of Electronic Prescription System
Employee Used Prescribing Credentials to Obtain Oxycodone for Personal Use
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Dr. Omar Guesmia, of Phoenix, New York will pay $60,000 to resolve allegations that he, and his dentistry practice, “Gentle Dental Care,” violated the Controlled Substances Act by enabling an office staff member to use an electronic prescription system to obtain oxycodone for their own use.
The announcement was made by Carla B. Freedman, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York and Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division.
Physicians generally send prescriptions to pharmacies using an electronic prescription system that can only be accessed using a password or other token, ensuring that only authorized persons transmit prescriptions to a pharmacy. Federal and New York State law prohibit practitioners from sharing their prescribing credentials with others and provide that physicians are responsible for all prescriptions written under their credentials. Dr. Guesmia gave his credentials to an office staff member, who transmitted oxycodone prescriptions to various pharmacies, then retrieved the prescriptions for their own illegitimate use. As part of the civil settlement, Dr. Guesmia admitted that he failed to monitor the prescriptions written using his credentials.
“The authority to prescribe controlled substances comes with great responsibility,” said United States Attorney Freedman. “I encourage all medical providers who have a prescription pad or credentials to safeguard access and vigilantly monitor their use through resources like New York State’s Prescription Monitoring Program, also known as I-STOP.”
“DEA Diversion teams focus on helping communities avoid overdoses and poisonings through regulation and investigation,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “This settlement is a reminder of how much harm a prescription pad can have when it is in the wrong hands. I commend the Northern District of New York, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, as well as the DEA’s Albany Tactical Diversion Squad and DEA’s New York Diversion and Intel Groups for their diligent work throughout this investigation.”
Dr. Guesmia surrendered his DEA Registration, and as part of the civil settlement agreement, agreed not to seek a renewal for at least five years.
This case was jointly investigated by DEA New York Division’s Albany Tactical Diversion Squad, Intelligence Group, and New York City’s Diversion Group and the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Moran handled this matter on behalf of the United States.