Newton Physician Resolves Allegations of Improper Prescribing Practices Concerning Controlled Substances

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BOSTON – Dr. Hooshang Poor, a Newton geriatric medicine physician, has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve allegations that he prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice, a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Dr. Poor previously resolved allegations in February 2019 that he violated the False Claims Act by submitting inflated claims to Medicare and the Massachusetts Medicaid program.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, physicians and other prescribers registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration may only issue prescriptions for a legitimate medical purpose and in the usual course of professional practice. Separately, under Massachusetts state law, prescribers of controlled substances are required to access the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) via a database (MassPAT) to review a patient’s prescription history prior to issuing a prescription for a Schedule II or Schedule III drug or a benzodiazepine, and prior to the first time they issue a prescription for a Schedule IV or V drug. The PMP allows a prescriber to see what, if any, Schedule II to V controlled substances patients are receiving from any other prescriber. With this information, prescribers can assess, among other things, whether the patient is at a high risk for overdose.

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Dr. Poor admitted that in 2019 and 2020, he issued 51 prescriptions for Schedule II, IV or V controlled substances without first reviewing the patients’ prescription histories in MassPAT.

“Proper prescribing practices prevent overdoses and deaths,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Simply put, the PMP saves lives and physicians who fail to comply with their statutory mandate to check the patient’s prescription history are putting their patients at risk. We will continue to work with our partners at the DEA to protect patients and enforce the Controlled Substances Act.”

“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 Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field 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.”

“Physicians are responsible for the health and wellbeing of their patients, but this doctor irresponsibly prescribed dangerous drugs to Massachusetts residents without abiding by critical requirements. Protecting against these illegal practices is a priority for my team, and we’ll continue to work with our federal partners to hold bad actors accountable,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, DEA SAC Boyle and Massachusetts AG Healey made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Panich of Rollins’ Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit handled the case along with Assistant Attorneys General Kevin Lownds and Elisha Willis of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division.