BOSTON – A Newburyport physician has agreed to resolve allegations that he improperly prescribed opioid controlled substances outside the usual course of his professional practice.
Guido Navarra, M.D., an internist practicing in Newburyport, has agreed to pay $12,500 to resolve allegations that he violated the civil remedies provisions of the Controlled Substances Act.
“Preventing the illegal prescription of drugs is essential to patient safety, particularly during an opioid epidemic,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell. “This settlement is an example of how our office and the DEA work to ensure that doctors prescribe dangerous medications only when legally authorized to do so. We appreciate Dr. Navarra’s cooperation in the government’s investigation and swift resolution of the claims against him.”
“The DEA is committed to ensuring that all registrants are in compliance with the required regulations, which are enforceable through the Controlled Substances Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Division. “Failure to do so increases the potential for diversion and jeopardizes public health and public safety. DEA pledges to work with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure these rules and regulations are followed.”
According to the settlement agreement, on two occasions, Dr. Navarra prescribed opioid controlled substances to patients outside the course of his professional practice. In one instance, a urine drug screen had revealed that the patient was taking controlled substances that Dr. Navarra had not prescribed. Dr. Navarra continued to prescribe controlled substances to this patient despite the patient’s positive test result, a basis for discharge from his practice.
In another instance, a patient requested an early refill of a prescription for a controlled substance based on the patient’s assertion that police officers had seized the prescribed medication from her home. Dr. Navarra continued to prescribe controlled substances to this patient for several more months despite the patient’s inability to substantiate the assertion. A urine drug test ultimately revealed this patient’s use of illicit drugs. In both instances, Dr. Navarra prescribed opioid controlled substances outside the usual course of his professional practice.
Acting U.S. Attorney Mendell and DEA SAC Boyle made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Panich of Mendell’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit handled the case.
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