Three N.J. Pharmacists Surrender Their Licenses Amid Pending
Criminal Charges in Interstate Prescription Drug Distribution Ring
NEWARK – The State Board of Pharmacy within the Division of Consumer Affairs has
suspended the licenses of three pharmacists for their alleged participation in an illegal
prescription drug distribution ring involving a pharmacy in Plainfield.
The multi-state investigation involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in New
Jersey, New York and Florida, began with information developed by the Enforcement Bureau
within the Division of Consumer Affairs, Acting Attorney John J. Hoffman noted.
The following pharmacists agreed to the temporary suspension of their licenses following their
arrests on October 23: Daniel Podell, 87, of ClarkHoward Hirsh, 61, of CranburyLawrence Zaslow, 59, of Cherry Hill
The suspensions are indefinite, pending further action by the Board of Pharmacy following
resolution of the pending criminal charges.
"Illegal distribution and abuse of prescription drugs is a national health crisis. This investigation
clearly shows how the enablers try to work across state lines to conceal their schemes. And
just as clearly, we see how multi-state, multi-agency teamwork brought these defendants to
justice," Acting Attorney General Hoffman said.
The three pharmacists worked at the Plainfield Pharmacy, located at 603 West 4th Street in Plainfield. The pharmacy is owned by Lana Wiseberg, a Florida resident. Wiseberg
surrendered the Controlled Dangerous Substances registration for the Plainfield Pharmacy and
for the Santa Marina Pharmacy in Union City which she also owns.
Investigators allege that pain management clinics in Florida provided prescriptions for painkillers
such as oxycodone, hydromorphone and morphine sulfate to patients who had no legitimate
medical need for painkillers. The patients were instructed to mail the prescriptions to the
Plainfield Pharmacy, and also pharmacies in New York State, enclosing money orders for
Investigators allege that Podell, Hirsh and Zaslow filled prescriptions for hundreds of thousands
of addictive painkillers knowing that the prescriptions were not for legitimate medical needs.
Podell also allegedly arranged for the bulk shipment of these prescription medicines from
distributors to the Plainfield Pharmacy.
Investigators in the Consumer Affairs' Enforcement Bureau initiated the investigation following a
routine inspection of the Plainfield Pharmacy, and expanded the scope of the investigation by
reaching out to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for its assistance.
"Our Enforcement Bureau investigators through their excellent work helped uncover an illegal
scheme that crossed state lines and posed a clear danger to the public's health and safety.
Through proactive educational outreach to the public, including the medical community, and
aggressive enforcement actions such as this, the Division of Consumer Affairs is meeting this
threat head on," said Eric T. Kanefsky, Division Director.
Kanefsky in October filed actions seeking to strip 12 New Jersey doctors of their ability to
prescribe Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS), including highly addictive painkillers. All but
one of the 12 doctors were convicted in Federal or State courts, for criminal offenses related to
their illegal prescribing of controlled substances. 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.
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 at
www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/pmp, and the Division's Project Medicine Drop website at
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