State regulators have turned up the heat on a Riverside pain management clinic in the past month, suspending the licenses of two doctors for distributing controlled substances for non-therapeutic purposes and fining the clinic’s administrator – who had his medical license revoked in 2011 – for issuing a prescription for Norco, a powerful opioid pain medication, to a patient who had died five days before the prescription was filled.
On Oct. 28, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended the medical license of Dr. William J. McMahon, one of two doctors working at Riverside Pain Management, 28 E. Burlington St.
McMahon’s status to practice medicine in Illinois was made permanently inactive on Nov. 28.
A day later, on Nov. 29, state regulators suspended the license of the other doctor at Riverside Pain Management, Dr. Paul C. Madison for improperly prescribing controlled substances and for “unprofessional conduct.” It’s the second time Madison has been disciplined by the agency. In April 2014, he was fined and received a reprimand from the agency for issuing prescriptions of controlled substances with a lapsed license.
Madison has also been disciplined in the states of Indiana and Michigan and is awaiting trial in U.S. District Court on charges of insurance fraud.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 22 the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation fined Riverside Pain Management’s administrator, Dr. Joseph Giacchino for reportedly issuing a prescription for 300 tablets of Norco “to a patient of his practice that was dated five days subsequent to the patient’s death.”
But the clinic is still operating on an appointment-only basis, according to Giacchino. On Monday he told the Landmark in a phone interview that a new doctor started working at the clinic on Dec. 3 and that he had two more doctors he considered prospects for the future.
“We’re revising our hours depending on the doctors’ availability,” Giacchino said. “Right now, it’s by appointment only.”
The Landmark submitted a Freedom of Information request with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on Dec. 1 requesting a copy of the suspension order for Madison’s license, but did not receive it prior to press time on Dec. 6.
The Associated Press reported that the agency’s suspension paperwork accused Madison of providing 1.6 million doses of controlled substances in 2015-16 to patients in 11 states and that he gives patients cursory examinations, or no examinations at all, before prescribing the highly addictive painkillers in cash-only transactions.
The agency made similar claims in October while seeking to suspend the medical license belonging to McMahon, who was Madison’s colleague at the Riverside clinic.
The Illinois Attorney General in August filed a lawsuit against the maker of the highly addictive opioid drug Subsys, after investigating allegations that the drug was being deceptively marketed and sold.
According to that lawsuit, Madison was the top prescriber in Illinois of Subsys, which was intended exclusively for breakthrough pain treatment in cancer patients. Madison, the attorney general’s complaint notes, is an anesthesiologist who sees few, if any cancer patients.
More than 95 percent of the prescriptions Madison wrote for Subsys, which consists of the narcotic fentanyl, “did not relate to breakthrough cancer pain,” according to the attorney general. Madison reportedly was responsible for writing 58 percent of all Subsys prescriptions in the state.
Madison also reportedly was paid $84,400 to promote Subsys at what the attorney general’s complaint describes as 46 sham speaking events at Chicago-area restaurants. The company that makes the Subsys, Insys Therapeutics, allegedly came up with the Insys Speaker Program “so Insys could pay the Illinois ‘speaker’ prescribers to prescribe Subsys.”
The lawsuit seeks to fine Insys Therapeutics for committing consumer fraud and to bar the company from selling its products in Illinois.
This story has been changed to correct the filing date of the Illinois Attorney General’s lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics Inc. in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit was filed in August 2016.