|TRENTON – The State Board of Medical Examiners ordered the immediate temporary suspension of the medical license held by Dr. Mark M. O’Connell, a cardiovascular specialist, practicing in New Jersey. The suspension follows an investigation that revealed Dr. O’Connell had improperly dispensed Controlled Dangerous Substances to his patients and that he also had violated terms of his licensure which had previously been restricted by the Board.
O’Connell, 58, who practiced at Advanced Urgent Care in Lawrenceville, admitted to the violations when investigators from the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau conducted an inspection of his office earlier this month, according to an agreement entered into between O’Connell and the Board. O’Connell specifically admitted that he prescribed Controlled Dangerous Substances, including prescription painkillers, to patients without having the proper CDS registration to do so. He further admitted to telling his staff to phone in prescriptions to patients’ pharmacies using another doctor’s name and Drug Enforcement Administration certification, according to the Order entered by the Board. The prescription quantities Dr. O’Connell prescribed also exceeded allowable limits.
During the inspection of Dr. O’Connell’s office, investigators also found expired and unlabeled Controlled Dangerous Substances. O’Connell’s employees stated that the drugs had been in an unlocked cabinet until recently and were not securely controlled.
“The findings revealed by our investigation showed a clear, imminent risk to patients seeing Dr. O’Connell. This temporary suspension protects the public, which is always our primary concern,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said.
“Prescription drug diversion remains a national problem, one that we are aggressively addressing here in New Jersey,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs. “The Division will continue to utilize the full scope of its powers to combat doctors who abuse their privileges to prescribe CDS.”
O'Connell's license will remain suspended pending the filing of an administrative complaint or further Board action.
O’Connell has been the subject of a past Board disciplinary order following allegations of substance abuse and misconduct. In response to those allegations, the Board in February 2011 restricted O’Connell’s license. The restrictions only allowed him to practice medicine in a hospital or institutional setting, or in a setting pre-approved by the Board. O’Connell sought but did not receive Board permission to practice at the Lawrenceville location.
Deputy Attorney General Meaghan Goulding of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section in the Division of Law handled this matter.
Consumers may report suspected violations committed by licensees to the Board which regulates the profession in question. To find a list of licensing Boards within the Division of Consumer Affairs, visit the Division’s website. Complaints may be filed through a form available on the website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.