New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners Revokes Passaic County Physician's License for Indiscriminately Prescribing Highly Addictive Pain Killers
NEWARK – The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners has revoked the license of a Passaic County doctor whose indiscriminate prescribing of highly addictive pain killers to his patients presented a “clear and imminent danger to the public.”
The Board found that Dr. Mohamed Kawam JabakjI (known as “Dr. Kawam”), who maintained a medical practice in Prospect Park, prescribed pain killers, including Oxycodone, Percocet and Codeine, to at least six patients without proper medical justification.
“It’s appalling that a member of the medical profession would help fuel New Jersey’s prescription drug abuse epidemic by prescribing highly addictive pain pills indiscriminately,” said Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy. “Physicians like Dr. Kawam, who endanger the public through greed and negligence, should be removed from practice.”
Under a Consent Order with the Board, Kawam cannot apply for the reinstatement of his medical license for at least three years. He must also pay the State $167,702, which includes a $110,000 civil penalty and a $57,702 reimbursement of the State’s investigative and legal costs.
Before applying for reinstatement, Kawam would, among other things, be required to complete Board approved record keeping training, and appear before a committee of the Board to demonstrate his fitness to resume practice.
In addition, Kawam’s New Jersey authority to prescribe controlled dangerous substances (CDS) is permanently revoked. As a result, even if the Board restores Kawam’s medical license in the future, he will still be barred from prescribing medications classified as CDS, absent an additional order from the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
“By stripping Dr. Kawam of both his medical license and the ability to prescribe CDS, the Board of Medical Examiners and the Division are making sure that the public will be protected from the harm of his indiscriminate prescribing, " said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “It is unfortunate that some doctors choose to be part of the problem rather than the solution.”
Dr. Kawam’s medical license has been temporarily suspended since April 2015. In temporarily suspending his license, the Board found that Dr. Kawam’s monitoring and screening of patients for possible misuse or diversion of prescribed drugs and/or for use of illegal drugs was virtually non-existent, yet he repeatedly continued to indiscriminately prescribe narcotics. The Board further found that Dr. Kawam did not routinely screen his patients even when they exhibited diversionary behavior, such as requests for early refills and inexplicable lapses of time between office visits.
In its filed complaint, the State alleged Kawam’s treatment of the six cited patients demonstrated “gross deviation from the standard of care given the lack of examinations, time lapses between visits, failure to address clear drug seeking and doctor shopping behavior and absence of any legitimate medical record keeping.” The State further alleged that Kawam’s actions demonstrated “gross negligence” which endangered these patients.
The Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau conducted this investigation.
Deputy Attorneys General David M. Puteska, Assistant Chief of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section in the Division of Law, and Gezim Bajrami, represented the State. Deputy Attorney General Megan Cordoma provided legal counsel to the Board of Medical Examiners.
Acting Attorney General Lougy and Acting Director Lee wish to thank the Drug Enforcement Administration for its assistance in bringing this matter to the State’s attention and in providing invaluable assistance during this investigation.
The Office of the Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs have launched a comprehensive strategy to fight the diversion and abuse prescription pain killers. This effort includes:
- The expansion of the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) to include direct data-sharing with the prescription monitoring programs maintained by South Carolina, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia, Connecticut, and Delaware. As of the end of February 2016, approximately 96.97 percent of New Jersey’s licensed doctors had registered to use the NJMP, which keeps detailed data on prescriptions filled in New Jersey for CDS and the Human Growth Hormone.
- Launching the first-in-the-nation online app that allows authorized users of the NJPMP access to the database via Apple smartphones and handheld devices. The app is located in iTunes; Google Play; and the Microsoft App Store.
- The creation of the Pain Management Council, an advisory body that is working to develop best practice recommendations concerning pain management for New Jersey’s healthcare professionals. The goal is to create voluntary guidelines that will enable prescribers to provide effective pain management to patients, while also maintaining controls to prevent drug diversion and abuse.
- Expanding “Project Medicine Drop” to 158 locations across New Jersey. The Division of Consumer Affairs installed secure "prescription drug drop boxes" at police departments, sheriff's offices, and State Police barracks, allowing citizens to safely dispose of their unused, excess, or expired prescription medications at any time without an appointment.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse,
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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