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Attorney General
Anne Milgram
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
David Szuchman
   
For Immediate Release:
December 14, 2009
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
 


Licensing Board Suspends Jersey City Doctor
Charged With Illegally Prescribing Narcotics

NEWARK – Following an Order to Show Cause hearing on Wednesday December 9, 2009, the State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended the license of a Jersey City-based physician.

The Division of Law’s emergent application, filed with the Board on December 3, 2009, sought immediate action by the Board due to the imminent threat posed by Magdy Elamir, M.D. to the public safety. Based on proofs provided by an undercover investigation and evidence seized from his medical offices, the Verified Complaint alleged that Dr. Elamir engaged in a dangerous pattern of indiscriminate prescribing of Controlled Dangerous Substances.

Dr. Magdy Elamir, a neurologist, who maintains multiple offices in Jersey City, will have his license to practice medicine suspended beginning on December 23. In the interim period, Elamir cannot accept new patients, cannot prescribe any Controlled Dangerous Substances, and can only see existing patients as they make other arrangements for medical care.

A second Jersey City-based physician, Clifton Howell, M.D., also faced a December 9, 2009 emergent disciplinary hearing before the Board seeking the immediate suspension of his license to practice medicine pertaining to similar charges. However, he voluntarily surrendered his license until the January, 2010 Board meeting.

Elamir and Howell were both arrested on October 20 following undercover investigations, jointly conducted by the state Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and the Jersey City Police Department. During visits by investigators and cooperating witnesses posing as patients, both physicians prescribed highly addictive medications, including pain relievers Oxycodone and Percocet, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, or expensive, but not medically necessary, medications such as Advair.

Simply at the patients’ request, without examining the patients or seeking information about whether the patients had medical conditions, both doctors prescribed the requested medications. The undercover investigators paid cash or used a Medicaid beneficiary card to pay the physicians for the office visits, which allegedly lasted less than two minutes on numerous occasions.

“The abuse of prescription pain killers is a national problem, one we are committed to addressing here in New Jersey,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “Abuse of pain killers puts the user at risk and also members of the public who come into contact with these impaired individuals.”

“These two physicians allegedly did not conduct patient examinations or keep proper patient files, both serious violations of professional conduct,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “The Board could not allow them to continue to see patients because of the clear and present danger to the public.”

The Board is scheduled to hold disciplinary hearings for Dr. Howell in January.

Deputy Attorney General Kay R. Ehrenkrantz is representing the state in both actions.

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