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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office has asked the Medical Licensing Board to suspend a local doctor's license for unacceptable prescribing practices.
Since January, Dr. Lea Marlow of the Clark County Wellness Center in Jeffersonville has prescribed more than 8,000 prescriptions for 3,489 patients -- with more than 95 percent receiving Oxycodone. According to the petition for summary suspension, Marlow's pain management practices "fall well outside the boundaries of safe and appropriate medical treatment."
"Our office filed for an emergency suspension against Dr. Marlow's license as we believe she poses an immediate threat to the public's health and safety," said Gabrielle Owens, Deputy Director of the Attorney General's Licensing Enforcement and Homeowner Protection Unit. "Considering the evidence of her prescribing practices, it is clear the minimum standards of acceptable pain management practices have not been met. The Attorney General's Office is committed to investigating and bringing actions against those who may prey upon addicts and add to the illegal supply of narcotics in our state."
According to the petition, Marlow does not accept payment from private insurance companies or government entitlement programs and instead operates as a "cash-only" business. Owens said virtually all Marlow's patients receive identical treatment in the form of Oxycodone and diazepam prescriptions.
In February, Marlow worked for Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management. In July, Kentucky's new regulations regarding pain clinics went into effect requiring any pain clinic be owned and operated by a board certified, licensed physician. According to the petition, the clinic then opened as the Clark County Wellness Center in Indiana and Marlow began prescribing there in August.
The board will consider the petition for summary suspension at its next meeting on Thursday, Dec. 6. Owens said if the suspension is granted, Marlow could not practice medicine for 90 days while the Attorney General's Office drafts a formal complaint to submit to the board. In licensing cases, the board has the authority to determine what if any disciplinary action will be taken.
Since January, the Attorney General's Office has filed numerous licensing actions against physicians for overprescribing with several cases involving deaths resulting from the over prescribing. The growing number of overprescribing incidents has resulted in the creation of the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force recently launched by Zoeller.
The group is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers. Members are focusing on education, treatment and recovery, prescription drug monitoring, prescription disposal and take-back and enforcement. The full task force will publish a report of its findings and recommendations.