Appellate Court Upholds State Medical Board Decision
Revoking License of Wildwood Physician
NEWARK – The Appellate Division of the State Superior Court has upheld the decision by the State Board of Medical Examiners revoking the license of a Wildwood-based physician for his fraudulent prescribing of pain killers and his falsification of medical records.
Dr. John G. Costino, Jr. had appealed the Board’s 2009 action that revoked his medical license for a minimum of five years. The Board also assessed Costino $70,733 in legal costs that he is required to pay in reimbursement to the state, which he also appealed.
The court, in its decision issued on October 12, rejected Costino’s assertion that the term of the license revocation and the amount of reimbursement were excessive.
“Professional misconduct is a grave offense and the court found that the Board of Medical Examiners took appropriate disciplinary action based on its review of the facts,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “Physicians who think they can indiscriminately prescribe pain killers without proper medical justification and without any consequences to themselves are flat-out wrong.”
The Board temporarily suspended Dr. Costino’s license in December 2007 following an undercover investigation and he has not seen patients since then. The investigation found that Dr. Costino created diagnoses of acute sprain and strain to the thoracic and lumbar spine without examining these areas when undercover investigators came to him posing as patients.
The Board in July 2009 revoked Costino’s license after an Administrative Law Judge conducted a hearing and recommended the revocation.
“The abuse of prescription pain killers is a national scourge that regulators and law enforcement agencies are grappling with. Physicians such as Dr. Costino, who dispense pain pills as easily as Pez, are enablers whom we are committed to rooting out and disciplining,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Deputy Attorney General David M. Puteska represented the state in this matter.
(A copy of the Appellate Court’s decision is attached.)