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Division of Consumer Affairs
Press Release

Attorney General
Anne Milgram
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
David Szuchman
   
For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2009
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
 
State Board Revokes License of Wildwood Physician

NEWARK - The State Board of Medical Examiners yesterday revoked the license of a Wildwood-based physician following an undercover investigation that found the physician created false patient diagnoses to prescribe pain killers.

The Board's decision to revoke the license of Dr. John G. Costino, Jr., comes after a hearing held before an Administrative Law Judge and mirrors the recommendation of the judge. Costino also must pay $10,000 in civil penalties and reimburse the state its investigative costs. He cannot apply for reinstatement of his license until five years have passed.

Costino was found to have created false diagnoses to justify his prescribing of Percocet to undercover investigators who posed as patients during nine office visits in 2007 and for billing to medical insurance companies. During their visits, the undercover investigators told Costino that they were experiencing no pain but wanted a medication to help them relax.

“The Board's order of revocation is appropriate, as Dr. Costino is a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “Dr. Costino had no medical justification for writing these prescriptions but he did so anyway.”

Dr. Costino created diagnoses of acute sprain and strain to the thoracic and lumbar spine without examining these areas when the undercover investigators came to him.

“Dr. Costino's reckless and unprofessional actions show how the misuse of powerful pain killers can occur,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “His actions demonstrated a flagrant disregard of Board rules and regulations and for the safety of his patients.”

The Board temporarily suspended Costino's license in December 2007 and he has not seen patients since then.

Deputy Attorney General David M. Puteska represented the state in this matter.

Consumers can submit complaints against physicians through the Board's web site at http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/bme/bmeform.htm or by calling the Board directly at 609-826-7100.

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