News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 11, 2012

AG files licensing complaint against doctor

Special to the Tribune-Star

INDIANAPOLIS — A Terre Haute doctor accused of over-prescribing medication now faces a licensing complaint from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office.

The complaint against Henry Johannes Davis of Providence Medical Group was filed Tuesday before the Medical Licensing Board. An ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the Vigo County Drug Task Force revealed that Davis’ prescribing practices of controlled substances were “extremely high in quantities.”

The board will consider the complaint at its next meeting Oct. 25 and likely determine the appropriate discipline. In July, the doctor’s license was suspended and his registration to prescribe controlled substances was revoked.

In June 2011, one of the physician’s patients, Nicollette Carty, pleaded guilty to dealing in controlled substances. A Vermillion County resident who purchased prescription drugs from Carty later died from an accidental overdose.

Five of Davis’ patients ages 25 to 51 died from pharmacological overdoses between February 2008 and November 2010. One case involved a 38-year-old man who died in an auto accident, but mixed drug intoxication was cited as a contributing factor.

A medical review of the doctor’s patient records revealed his prescribing practices were “exuberant and clinically inappropriate.” The findings show Davis prescribed controlled substances with “insufficient clinical diagnosis” and patient self-reports appeared to be the “only criteria for continuation of narcotics.”

Patient records also showed there was no verification as to the efficiency of the narcotics on the patients, no clinical therapeutic plans in place, and there were almost never second opinions. Prescribed painkillers, among others, included Oxycontin, Duragesic patches, Soma and Lortab.

Since January, the Attorney General’s Office has taken licensing actions against eight physicians for overprescribing.

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 will focus 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.