NEWARK – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that the state Board of Medical Examiners (“the Board”) has permanently revoked the medical license of a Burlington County psychiatrist who allegedly prescribed more than 62,000 Oxycodone pills to two patients over four years without justification, and without conducting mandatory lookups on the NJ Prescription Monitoring Program (“PMP.”).
Dr. Joel B. Glass, who practiced in Marlton, allegedly indiscriminately prescribed dangerously high quantities of opioids, as well as other controlled dangerous substances (“CDS,”) despite warnings from fellow doctors, pharmacies and/or insurance providers.
Glass is the first physician to be cited by the Board for violating regulations that took effect in November 2016 requiring all prescribers to conduct quarterly PMP lookups for patients to whom they prescribe Schedule II CDS for acute or chronic pain.
To resolve the allegations against him, the 74-year-old psychiatrist agreed to give up his medical license in a retirement to be deemed a permanent revocation.
“Dr. Glass has learned the hard way that when it comes to fighting the spread of opioid addiction and saving lives, we mean business,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We will continue to identify and rid the medical profession of prescribers who willfully fan the flames of this deadly epidemic by flouting the laws and regulations in place to prevent these highly addictive prescription drugs from flowing unchecked into our communities.”
“New Jersey physicians have overwhelmingly embraced the mandates that will help reduce the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs, and we cannot allow their efforts to be undermined by a minority of prescribers who shirk that responsibility, as Dr. Glass allegedly did,” said Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Through this negotiated agreement with Dr. Glass, the Board has effectively removed him as a threat to the public and an obstacle in our battle to end opioid addiction.”
According to the State’s Complaint, the investigation into the New Jersey psychiatrist began with a referral from Vermont Board of Medical Practice alleging he was overprescribing highly addictive medications to a patient who lived in Vermont and was filling the prescriptions there.
A subsequent investigation by the Division of Consumer Affairs Enforcement Bureau and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration allegedly uncovered evidence that Glass had been treating five patients for pain management in a manner that constituted repeated acts of gross negligence, including:
- prescribing patients extremely large numbers of highly-addictive CDS – primarily Oxycodone and the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam - with no justifiable reason evidenced in his record;
- failing to substantiate his patients’ need for pain medication through use of diagnostic testing and physical examinations;
- failing to employ safeguards to prevent drug abuse and/or diversion, such as urine screens; CDS agreements, and utilizing the PMP to monitor prescription history; and
- frequently prescribing both Diazepam and Oxycodone, a combination of medications that put patients a greater risk for a potentially fatal overdose.
In the case of the Vermont resident, identified as a 42-year-old male with the initials N.M., the Complaint alleges that Glass prescribed him 33,610 pills of 30-milligram Oxycodone between January 2013 and April 2015 without conducting a single physical examination. Glass allegedly prescribed the drugs for years without a pain management plan in place, and over concerns raised by fellow doctors, pharmacies, and N.M.’s own wife who called Glass to tell him she thought her husband was abusing Oxycodone and using other drugs. The investigation also found that Glass allegedly had not performed a PMP lookup on the patient until November 11, 2015. After the regulation mandating PMP lookups for chronic pain prescribing took effect on November 7, 2016, Glass allegedly performed only one lookup - in December 2016 - even though he prescribed Oxycodone to N.M. until April 2017.
In a second case cited in the complaint, Glass is alleged to have prescribed 42,050 pills of 30-milligram Oxycodone to New Jersey resident A.T. between January 2012 and April 2017. Glass allegedly prescribed the drugs to the 43-year-old female without conducting any physical or diagnostic tests, and the complaint alleges there was a "dearth of evidence supporting these prescriptions."
Glass continued to dispense “massive quantities” of Oxycodone to A.T., despite her reports that her level of pain allowed her to work out at a gym, shovel snow, sled with her children, and attend a spin class, the Complaint alleges. He also allegedly ignored concerns raised by various pharmacies and insurance providers, including that the Oxycodone he prescribed to A.T. “exceeds controlled substance fill limit,” and that she had been identified as “having unusual medication utilization patterns which may indicate possible drug over-utilization.”
The Complaint alleges that despite the tens of thousands of pain pills prescribed to A.T., only three checks of the PMP are evidenced in her patient records. The checks all occurred in 2016, despite the fact that Glass began prescribing Oxycodone to A.T. years before, and continued to prescribe it to her until at least April 2017.
The Complaint also alleges that Glass indiscriminately prescribed excessive quantities of Oxycodone and other CDS to three other patients for three or more months, and as recently as February or March 2017.
The State filed its Complaint against Glass, along with an Order to Show Cause, on May 5, 2017. On May 10 Glass entered an Interim Order in which he agreed to the temporary suspension of his license pending the conclusion of plenary proceedings or further order of the Board.
On October 27, Glass entered a Consent Order with the Board in which he agreed to immediately retire his license to practice medicine in New Jersey, with such retirement to be deemed a permanent revocation. Under the terms of the Consent Order, the revocation shall be with prejudice and Glass is prohibited from re-applying for his license at any time. He must also pay a $25,000 civil monetary penalty and reimburse the State $42,002.90 for costs associated with the investigation and filing of this matter.
Investigators with the Division of Consumer Affairs' Enforcement Bureau conducted the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Kate J. Calendar of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section represented the State in this matter.
Carl Poplar, Esq., represented Dr. Glass in this matter.
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.
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