Federal drug agents review Milbridge doctor’s narcotic prescribing practices

Courtesy of Cathleen London
Courtesy of Cathleen London
Cathleen London
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A Washington County doctor has come under the scrutiny of federal drug enforcement agents because of her history of inappropriate prescriptions of methadone and opioids and failure to keep appropriate records.
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A Washington County doctor has come under the scrutiny of federal drug enforcement agents because of her history of inappropriate prescriptions of methadone and opioids and failure to keep appropriate records.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed an administrative warrant at Dr. Cathleen London’s office in Milbridge on Feb. 15 after she refused to allow agents to examine her narcotic prescription records without one.

The administrative warrant allows the DEA to examine and copy documents, inventory stocks of controlled substances and, if necessary, seize them. It is part of a possible civil action against the doctor.

Under federal law, physicians who write prescriptions for controlled substances must register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The probable cause to get the warrant came from documents outlining her reprimand in August 2018 by Maine’s Board of Licensure in Medicine for unprofessional conduct. At that time, London entered into a consent decree with the board that prohibited her from prescribing methadone and placed her license to practice medicine on probation indefinitely.

The affidavit seeking the warrant cited London’s admission more than 18 months ago when she signed the consent decree that “she inappropriately prescribed methadone for patients with active opioid use disorder, inappropriately prescribed opioids, failed to consistently obtain prior medical records or communicate with prior healthcare professionals, and failed to meet recordkeeping standards in 2016 and 2017.”

Emma Hinnigan, a diversion investigator with the DEA, also said in the affidavit that in her seven years on the job physicians who “inappropriately prescribe controlled substances, fail to meet recordkeeping standards, and withhold consent to voluntary DEA inspections are more prone to engaging in serious, systemic violations [of federal regulations] with respect to prescription and recordkeeping regulations that other registrants [with the DEA].”

A request for comment from London’s attorney, Timothy Woodcock of Bangor, was not immediately returned. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Lizotte, who is handling the case, declined to comment Friday.

A similar warrant was issued in 2016 against the Orono Pharmacy. As a result of that search, Ali Aghamoosa, the owner of the town’s only drugstore, agreed to pay $60,000 to resolve allegations that his business violated the Controlled Substance Act. Aghamoosa did not admit to any wrongdoing and cooperated with the investigation.

London, a Democrat, announced the month before she was reprimanded that she would run against Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins but withdrew after the reprimand was issued.

 


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