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Two Bergen doctors among dirty dozen targeted by NJ authorities

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Park Ridge podiatrist who was sent to prison and a Fort Lee physician given probation, both for selling high-dose Oxycontin to black-market brokers, are having their ability to prescribe highly addictive painkillers stripped, state authorities announced today.

Carnig Shakarjian of Emerson ( above ) and Michael Chung Kay Lam of Fort Lee ( inset) are among a dozen physicians against whom New Jersey Consumer Affairs Director Eric T. Kanefsky filed actions against, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.

The Board of Medical Examiners revoked Shakarjian’s license this May after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute Oxycodone and was sentenced to five years behind bars.

Lam had his license revoked in July 2013 after admitting that, among other offenses, he sold oxycodone prescriptions for cash and doctored records to make it appear he was tending to patients. He was sentenced to three years of probation last year after pleading guilty to drug distribution.

Hoffman said the moves advance the fight against what he called an epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Physicians obtain their medical licenses through the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners. But no licensed physician may prescribe Controlled Dangerous Substances – including highly addictive painkillers such as Oxycodone – without a CDS registration, which is granted by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

“Revocation of a doctor’s CDS [controlled dangerous substances] registration, when a doctor has already been criminally convicted or lost his or her license, creates an additional barrier that will protect the public [if] any of these doctors seek to have their medical license restored,” he said.

In this way, Hoffman said, “we are protecting the public from doctors convicted of being part of the problem, or who lost their license due to findings that they were part of the problem.”

All but one of the dirty dozen were convicted in federal or state courts for “behaving like street dealers,” said Eric Kanefsky, director of the DCA.

Revocation of a physician’s CDS registration provides an extra layer of protection to the public, in case that doctors seeks reinstatement of his or her medical license.

Even if the license to practice medicine is restored, those who have their CDS registration stripped still must apply to the Consumer Affairs director for reinstatement.

The doctor then must make a clear and detailed demonstration “that they can be trusted with the responsibility they once abdicated,” Kanefsky said.

“Working hand in hand with the Board of Medical Examiners, we will continue to use all enforcement tools in our arsenal against those who choose to use a professional license to harm the public,” the DCA director said.

Kanefksy obtained orders to show cause against each of the 12 doctors as to why their CDS registrations shouldn’t be revoked.

All get hearings within 45 days but must provide a written explanation of their argument in advance.

Those who don’t respond could have their cases heard, anyway, with that being considered.

Following the hearing, Kanefsky could issue an order suspending or revoking CDS registration.

MORE INFO ON NJDCA PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE INITIATIVES: www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/pmp

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