Feds Sue Suffolk Doc for Overprescribing Painkillers

Federal prosecutors filed a lawsuit Thursday against an Islip Terrace doctor, accusing him of prescribing addictive painkillers to patients for no medical purpose and disregarding toxicology reports that came back positive for opioids he didn’t prescribe.

Between January 2011 and June 2013, Lawrence Womack, 48, allegedly wrote 241 prescriptions for oxycodone, methadone and fentanyl—all potent pain medications, authorities claimed in the civil suit. The prescriptions were handed out despite their being no medical need, according to the suit.

Medical professionals who conduct such practices “place the lives of their patients at risk and contribute to the scourge of prescription drug abuse in our communities,” Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

The suit also alleges that Womack allegedly conducted toxicology screens on patients “and many of them tested positive for illicit substances, including cocaine and heroin.”

“In addition,” the suit continues, “many patients tested positive for opioids such as methadone, hyrdocodone and morphine, even though such opioids had not been prescribed by the defendant.”

Despite the positive tests, Womack continued to prescribe patients painkillers, the suit alleges.

Authorities also claimed that Womack conducted breast examinations of some patients in exchange for either continued prescriptions or additional amounts of opioids, or both.

Womack could not be reached for comment. Attorney information did not appear on court documents.

Lynch’s spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a question asking why a civil suit was filed instead of criminal charges.