A physician who had a practice in Nutley is among a dozen New Jersey doctors whom the Division of Consumer Affairs is seeking to strip of their ability to prescribe Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS), including highly addictive painkillers, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced last week.
Michael Durante, 59, an internal medicine specialist who wrote illegal prescriptions for oxycodone, was convicted in Federal Court earlier this year of criminal conspiracy to distribute, and unlawful distribution of, the drug.
In total, Durante, who resided in Montclair, provided prescriptions to co-conspirators for more than 70,000 oxycodone pills, which he knew would be resold on the streets for a profit, authorities said.
According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Durante accepted cash and other items, including “gold” Fraternal Order of Police cards, in exchange for prescriptions between 2009 and March 2011.
In 2011, the Board of Medical Examiners had obtained Durante’s agreement to cease and desist the practice of medicine pending the resolution of the criminal proceedings.
The actions filed last week by Consumer Affairs Director Eric Kanefsky seek to permanently revoke the CDS registration of Durante and the other doctors who were convicted in federal or state courts for offenses related to illegally prescribing controlled substances. None of the 11 others practiced in this area.
Physicians obtain their medical licenses through the state Board of Medical Examiners, but no licensed physician may prescribe a CDS without a CDS registration, which is granted by the Consumer Affairs director, the AG’s Office explained.
Revocation of a CDS registration provides an extra layer of protection to the public should a doctor ask for a reinstatement of his or her medical license.
The doctor would be required to make a “clear and detailed demonstration as to why restoration of his or her CDS registration would be in the public interest,” the AG said.
Said Kanefsky, “When a doctor is found to have abused the privilege to prescribe CDS by making drugs available to abusers or dealers, our default position should be that the doctor will never again be able to prescribe these medications.”
He added that, if such doctors want to practice again, “they will need to demonstrate that they can be trusted with the responsibility they once abdicated.”
Kanefsky issued show-cause orders that require each doctor to provide a written rationale in advance of a hearing, as to why their CDS registration should not be revoked.
– Karen Zautyk