Alabama doctor over-prescribed painkillers, used self-invented technique, council says

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (WIAT) – First, it was a pharmacist who told state regulators that patients were traveling from Tenessee to a doctor in Tuscaloosa for Oxycontin prescriptions.

Then there are those responsible for the Medicaid program. They said a doctor in Tuscaloosa was over-billing.

Then, a few years later, another pharmacist spoke up. The same doctor was now prescribing patients who had traveled from northern Alabama controlled substances.

A few months later, a pharmacist in northern Alabama sounded the alarm again. The pharmacist said the Tuscaloosa doctor – Leon H. Campbell, Jr. – was now prescribing strange mixtures of painkillers to patients.

Earlier this month, the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners acted on the matter, suspending Campbell’s certificate to prescribe controlled substances in the state pending a hearing earlier this year. next.

According to the board, Campbell was first licensed to practice medicine in the state in 1988.

The board first received a complaint about Campbell in 2003, according to the agency, when a pharmacist notified regulators of patients traveling from out of state to Tuscaloosa for prescription painkillers. At the time, the board sent Campbell a “letter of concern” and ordered him to take a prescription course offered by Vanderbilt University.

Even before Campbell finished the course, regulators said they had received another complaint — this one from the Alabama Pharmacy Board — informing the medical board that their agency had also filed complaints from pharmacists in the Florence area regarding over-prescribing of Campbell’s Oxycontin.

In 2010, the Medical Licensing Board received a complaint from Medicaid officials alleging that Campbell was overcharging patients for services. During a three-month period in 2008, Medicaid officials said, Campbell submitted 331 claims for 706 services, resulting in a reimbursement of $47,335 from Medicaid.

“Medicaid auditors also discovered Respondent’s illegible medical record documentation for facet joint injections, lack of fluoroscopy guidance, administration of Glucola to a diabetic patient with high blood sugar, and lack of consent forms for facet joint injections,” the medical licensing board wrote in an order. regarding the case.

At that time, regulators again sent a “letter of concern” to Campbell and asked him to take a course in medical record keeping offered by Case Western Reserve University. In 2013, they received an additional complaint from Medicaid “alleging that the respondent excessively used urine drug testing and did not follow the Board’s guidelines for prescribing controlled substances.”

In January 2021, the state Medical Licensing Board opened an investigation into Campbell’s prescribing practices which found that the doctor was prescribing controlled substances to 205 different patients from across Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Later in July, the council opened a second investigation, according to agency records, following a complaint from a Tuscaloosa pharmacist. The pharmacist said he received a prescription from a single patient that included 84 ten-milligram Percocets, 28 7.5-milligram Percocets, 84 five-milligram Percocets, and 18 fifteen-milligram Oxycodone pills.

In response to questions about prescribing, the agency said Campbell described his method of prescribing as a “self-invented technique called ‘asymmetric dosing'”.

Asked by the board about the lack of scientific evidence to support the dosing method, Campbell reportedly said, “I know. I invented it.

Based on its investigation of Campbell, the board concluded that there were probable grounds to believe that the doctor had engaged in the overprescribing of controlled substances. Campbell is entitled to a hearing on the matter, which is set for January 19, 2023. Until then, the board said, due to “imminent danger to public health and safety”, Campbell is prohibited from prescribe controlled substances in the state.

CBS 42 reached out to Leon Campbell for comment on this story but had yet to hear back.

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