NEWARK – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs yesterday announced that the State Board of Medical Examiners (“the Board”) has permanently revoked the license of a Middlesex County pain management doctor caught on hidden video prescribing opioid pain pills without medical justification to an undercover investigator in exchange for cash.
Dr. Binod Sinha, an anesthesiologist who owned several offices in and around central Jersey - including the Garden State Pain Control Center in Perth Amboy - did not contest allegations he prescribed highly addictive opioid pain medications and other controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”) to patients for years without good cause.
In its decision to revoke Sinha’s license, the Board found he engaged in “egregious misconduct” that included overprescribing high dosages of Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Endocet, and other CDS to seven patients, one of whom was actually an undercover state investigator who had secretly recorded the office visit.
“The videotape unquestionably reveals that Dr. Sinha did little more than act as a drug dealer when he supplied the undercover officer with a prescription for 60 extremely powerful pain pills for $200 cash without conducting any medical examination to establish whether she needed the drugs,” said Attorney General Porrino. “With this revocation we have permanently rid our medical profession of yet another corrupt doctor whose reckless prescribing habits undermine our efforts to break the death grip of addiction in this state. And we will continue to weed out problem prescribers who refuse to join us in this fight to save lives.”
In a Final Order of Permanent Revocation of Licensure filed on December 6, the Board found that Sinha used his prescriptive privileges to “sell” Endocet, a generic version of the opioid painkiller Percocet, to an undercover state investigator who was posing as a first-time patient in July 2014. The Board further found that Sinha provided “grossly negligent medical care” and engaged in “wildly indiscriminate prescribing” in his treatment of six other patients between 2012 and 2016.
“After reviewing the very troubling behavior of Dr. Sinha, the Board rightly concluded that he lacks the moral integrity, medical judgment, and skill required to practice medicine,” said Sharon M. Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The Board appropriately found that the only way to fulfill its duty to protect the public was to permanently revoke his license.”
In its decision to revoke Sinha’s license, the Board found that his conduct during a “sham” office visit with the undercover investigator provided compelling evidence to support its conclusion that “Dr. Sinha, is, fundamentally, a morally bereft practitioner.”
That encounter began when the undercover officer, accompanied by a confidential informant, met with Sinha in an off-hours office visit on July 2, 2014. Posing as a patient identified by the initials “A.I.”, the investigator told Sinha she had “pain” and asked whether she could get “prescriptions” from him. Without physically examining A.I., or even asking her to isolate the area of her back where she was claiming to have “chronic” pain”, Sinha prescribed her highly-addictive opioid narcotics in exchange for cash, the Board found. Eighteen months later, when he received a subpoena for A.I.’s medical records, Sinha sought to disguise his actions by preparing a “completely fictitious medical record” to support his prescribing, the Board found. The fabricated record included false documentation that Sinha had conducted an extensive clinical orthopedic evaluation of A.I.
The Board further found that Sinha completely eschewed his fundamental obligations as a physician; facilitated the abuse and diversion of CDS; and placed his patients and the public alike at grave risk of harm in behavior that included:
- Failing to establish medical necessity before initiating opioid therapy for his patients.
- Failing to order or obtain diagnostic studies, and/or failing to review and act upon results of imaging studies that were obtained.
- Failing to make efforts to assess whether patients were obtaining functional improvement while on opioid therapy.
- Failing to require patients to sign a pain management contract during the course of opioid therapy and/or when his patients did sign the agreements, failing to have the documents completed in full and failing to require patients to adhere to the conditions of the agreement.
- Failing to modify his prescription practices, and failing to confront patients when presented with “red flags” that patients may have been abusing or diverting the prescription drugs, such as when patients’ urine drug screens were negative for the CDS prescribed and/or were positive for illicit substances or CDS that was not prescribed.
The State filed its seven-count Complaint against Sinha in December 2016. The physician denied the allegations against him, but agreed to a suspension of his license pending a completion of plenary proceedings. His case was transmitted by the Board to the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) for a hearing. But in July 2017, before the OAL hearing took place, Sinha pleaded no contest to all the allegations in the State’s Complaint and withdrew his case from the OAL. On October 11, the Board held a hearing to rule on mitigation of penalty in the case, and subsequently ruled to permanently revoke Sinha’s license. The Board also assessed Sinha a $70,000 civil penalty and ordered him to reimburse the Board $140,756.33 for the costs incurred in the matter, including expert fees, investigative costs, and attorney fees.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joan Gelber from the Division of Law represented the State in this matter.
Joseph M. Gorrell, Esq., of Brach Eichler, LLC, represented Dr. Sinha in this matter.
Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.
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