New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners Revokes the License of Central Jersey Physician Who Prescribed Excessive Quantities of Oxycodone Without Medical Justification
NEWARK – In a significant victory for New Jersey’s fight against opiate abuse, the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners has revoked the license of Dr. Paul M. DiLorenzo, an Oakhurst physician who prescribed excessive quantities of oxycodone, a potentially addictive opiate, to a large number of individuals without medical justification.
In addition, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has permanently revoked DiLorenzo’s authority to prescribe controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in New Jersey – meaning that DiLorenzo is permanently prohibited from prescribing oxycodone or other controlled medications even if he is ever successful in having his medical license reinstated.
“DiLorenzo was, without question, a major contributor to our opiate abuse crisis. He put lives at risk in absolute defiance of his oath to ‘do no harm.’” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “One victim told our investigators, ‘I went to Dr. DiLorenzo for help and all he did was write prescriptions. Wasn’t he supposed to help me?’ This painful question from a recovering addict speaks volumes about our fight against indiscriminate prescribing.”
Acting Attorney General Hoffman noted that it was the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) that called attention to DiLorenzo’s prescribing of massively excessive quantities of oxycodone. Further investigation by the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau revealed that he prescribed the drugs without medical justification.
“DiLorenzo made a great deal of money by selling prescriptions for excessive dosages and amounts of deadly and addictive opiates -- $500 cash for an initial office visit and $300 for subsequent visits,” Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said. “The Board of medical Examiners has shown once again that it will act against physicians who abuse the trust by indiscriminately prescribing opiates. We have made New Jersey safer by permanently taking away his prescription pad for controlled substances.”
DiLorenzo pleaded guilty in September 2014, and was sentenced on March 6, 2015, on federal tax and structuring charges. His federal sentence of 46 months’ incarceration to be followed by three years’ probation was enhanced because of the Judge’s finding that his proceeds were derived from illegal activity, specifically the prescribing of highly addictive narcotics without due care or with limited or no patient examinations. During the sentencing hearing, United States District Judge Freda Wolfson said, “There is no doubt in my mind that this was a pill mill. These patients weren’t being treated. They were being handed out heavy pain medication.”
DiLorenzo has not, however, been criminally prosecuted for his indiscriminate prescribing of oxycodone. The State’s actions mean that DiLorenzo will not be able to resume practicing and prescribing CDS upon the completion of his federal sentence.
In deciding to revoke DiLorenzo’s license, the Board of Medical Examiners found that DiLorenzo’s actions constituted indiscriminate prescribing of CDS, and that he engaged in dishonesty or fraud; gross negligence, malpractice, or incompetence; professional misconduct; aiding and abetting an unlicensed person to use his prescription pad; and failure to demonstrate good moral character.
Specifically, the Board found that DiLorenzo prescribed excessive quantities of oxycodone, the majority of which were for 240 pills of 30 milligrams each, on a regular basis to many individuals without maintaining adequate medical records for those individuals. He prescribed CDS in quantities and dosages that were beyond the standard of care and/or without medical justification. He also failed to properly monitor his patients for abuse or addiction.
In addition, the Board found that DiLorenzo allowed his office manager to have complete access to DiLorenzo’s prescription pad, and split patient fees with his office manager. He also prescribed excessive amounts of oxycodone to the office manager, as well as the office manager’s wife and two sons, without legitimate medical need.
DiLorenzo consented to the license revocation by signing a Consent Order with the Board of Medical Examiners. Under the terms of the Order, DiLorenzo’s license to practice medicine is revoked and he must pay the State $150,000 in civil penalties plus $50,000 for the State’s investigative and legal costs.
DiLorenzo will be ineligible to apply for a new medical license for at least five years after he is released from incarceration and has satisfied the Federal judge’s order that he pay $303,293 restitution to the IRS and $1 million in illegally derived proceeds.
If he applies for a new medical license after that time, DiLorenzo would need to appear before a committee of the Board to demonstrate his fitness to resume practice, and demonstrate that he has completed Board-approved courses in medical ethics and record-keeping. Should an application for licensure then be granted, the Board reserves the right to set conditions or limits on his practice to protect the public. Even then, however, the permanent revocation of his CDS registration means that he will remain unable to prescribe oxycodone and other controlled substances in this State.
The Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau conducted this investigation, in which the NJPMP played an important role.
Deputy Attorneys General Labinot Berlajolli and Gezim Bajrami represented the State in this matter.
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 NJPMP website, and the Division's Project Medicine Drop website.