|NEWARK – A psychiatrist who owns a practice in Rahway has agreed to the temporary suspension of his medical license and New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) Registration amid allegations that he engaged in repeated acts of negligence, malpractice or incompetence by writing prescriptions for powerful and addictive painkillers without medical justification.
Dr. Ranajit Mitra, 61, is temporarily suspended from medical practice and also from writing prescriptions for CDS such as painkillers, following an Interim Consent Order reached with the State Board of Medical Examiners. The Board had scheduled a disciplinary hearing for last Wednesday if the Consent Order had not been reached. The Consent Order also temporarily suspends Dr. Mitra’s New Jersey CDS Registration issued by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Mitra, owner of St. George Behavioral Care, is alleged to have violated a 2011 agreement with the Board that prevented him for prescribing CDS for pain management. The State’s complaint pending before the Board, filed by the Division of Law, alleges that Mitra acted beyond the scope of his permitted medical practice and that he also failed to cooperate with the Board’s investigation of his practice, thus committing professional misconduct.
“The abuse of painkillers is a national epidemic that regulators and law enforcement at all levels are working to address,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “Abuse of painkillers can lead to addiction and then the downward spiral to illegal opiates and narcotics. We will act on those who facilitate this public health crisis.”
In its Complaint to the Board, the Division of Law alleges that Mitra failed to conduct physical examinations of patients before prescribing painkillers for them; failed to document and maintain patient treatment plans; failed to consider other alternatives to painkillers or to refer patients to pain management specialists; violated State laws and regulations by providing large quantities of short-acting painkillers at frequent intervals; and failed to conduct toxicology testing of patients.
“The clear and imminent threat to the public’s safety posed by Dr. Mitra through his alleged actions required his temporary suspension, and we’re pleased that suspension has been achieved while the Board considers further action in this matter,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Director Kanefsky earlier this month filed actions to strip 12 physicians of their ability to prescribe CDS. All but one of the 12 doctors were convicted in Federal or State courts, for criminal offenses related to their illegal prescribing of CDS (read the press release here.) The remaining doctor’s license was revoked by the State Board of Medical Examiners, due to a civil complaint in which the Attorney General alleged he indiscriminately prescribed CDS.
Deputy Attorney General Bindi Merchant of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section in the Division of Law is handling this matter. The Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau conducted the investigation.
For more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' initiative to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, view the Division's Prescription Monitoring Program website at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/pmp, and the Division's Project Medicine Drop website at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/meddrop.
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