Actions Filed Against Cherry Hill, Red Bank Doctors for Indiscriminately Prescribing Highly Addictive Narcotics
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced today that the State Board of Medical Examiners (“the Board”) has filed disciplinary actions against two South Jersey doctors for allegedly prescribing highly addictive narcotics to patients without a legitimate medical purpose.
Dr. Thomas Newmark, a Cherry Hill psychiatrist, has agreed to surrender his license to be deemed a permanent revocation, to resolve investigative findings that he indiscriminately prescribed controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”) to his patients without a legitimate medical purpose.
In a separate action, the Board temporarily suspended the license of Red Bank podiatrist Dr. James Ludden amid allegations he prescribed CDS without a legitimate medical purpose, and outside the scope of his license, to 13 individuals, including one patient who was later found dead in a hotel room.
“Physicians who indiscriminately prescribe highly addictive narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose are feeding the alarming rise in opioid addiction and overdose deaths plaguing our state,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Keeping prescription pads out of the hands of unscrupulous doctors is a key component in our fight against the opioid and heroin crisis gripping New Jersey.”
“There is zero tolerance for doctors who blatantly abuse their authority to prescribe medication, as these two allegedly did,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “By taking these actions, the Board has upheld its duty to protect the health and safety of the public and enforce the standards of the medical profession.”
According to the Consent Order revoking Newmark’s license, the Board began looking into the Cherry Hill psychiatrist after learning he had been terminated from his employment at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine when an investigation revealed that he had engaged in the indiscriminate prescribing of CDS. After interviewing Newmark, investigators for the Board determined he prescribed CDS without legitimate medical purpose, notably highly addictive narcotics, to his patients. Under the terms of the Consent Order, Newmark agreed to surrender his license to be deemed a permanent revocation.
According to the Consent Order temporarily suspending Ludden’s license, the Board began investigating the Red Bank podiatrist after receiving information that he was engaged in the indiscriminate prescription of CDS. The investigation determined he had authorized prescriptions to 13 individuals for medications outside the scope of his podiatric license, including testosterone, Adderall, and generic versions of the drugs Xanax and Ativan. Ludden also prescribed large quantities of CDS, including fentanyl, morphine sulfate, and generic versions of the drugs Xanax and Dilaudid, to a male patient and his 93-year-old mother, according the Consent Order.
Ludden admitted he had prescribed CDS in the elderly woman’s name as a “favor” to the patient, even though Ludden had never examined her. The patient was later found dead in a hotel room at his son’s wedding.
Under the terms of the Consent Order, Ludden’s license will remain temporarily suspended until further order of the Board.
Deputy Attorney General Bindi Merchant represented the State in both of these matters. The investigations were conducted by the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau. Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.