Suspended Las Cruces doctor testifies before medical board

Monday, September 24, 2012 - 9:05pm

Neurologist Dr. Pawankumar Jain, accused of over-prescribing pain medication and linked to 17 drug toxicity deaths, testified before the New Mexico Medical Board in a hearing in Las Cruces Monday.

The board suspended Jain's license early July.

During the hear the state presented data on the high number of prescriptions Jain wrote between 2010 and 2011.

Executive Director of the state's Prescription Monitoring Program Larry Loring testified about the high number of doses Jain prescribed to his more than 3,200 patients.

The Prescription Monitoring Program keeps track of what medication is being dispensed by pharmacies and prescribed by doctors.

The data showed Jain topped the program's list with more than 3 million prescriptions.

The Las Cruces neurologist wrote more than 22,000 prescriptions of controlled pain medication in a year, according to records presented at the hearing.

That averages to about 62 prescriptions daily if the doctor worked 365 days a year.

At that rate he would be writing 5 prescriptions an hour.

Jain said that was standard of his practice.

"One prescription a month, one script per medication," Jain had said previously of how he prescribed medication.

Jain admitted to seeing lots of patients from all over the state and El Paso because he was the only one prescribing pain medication.

Jain testified he would not see any new patients without a referral from another doctor.

He said he would screen his patients with the a urinalysis and only prescribe to those he felt were good candidates.

"I don't recall anybody having addiction," Jain said. "Secondly, these patients deny having any addiction."

Lead Prosecutor Dan Rubin then asked if maybe there was a reason why other doctors were not prescribing these patients pain medication.

Jain said he did not believe people were coming to him for the wrong reasons.

Evidence presented during the hearing showed three of Jain's patients died within a months time from accidental overdoses while under his supervision.

Some patients died just days after receiving their last prescription, according to the records.

A patient of Jain's died from morphine intoxication according to autopsy records.

Jain said he did prescribed the patient morphine but he doesn't believe that directly led to his death.

"Four days before he was dead he went to Sierra Medical Hospital for severe pain," Jain said.

Records showed the man was treated with morphine at the hospital.

During cross-examination as a part of Jain's defense, the records indicated the man was also prescribed morphine at the hospital.

The state listed several cases where the patient died from drug overdoses and with medication in their system matching what Jain had prescribed.

On one of the cases Jain said the patient had been complying with methadone and he refilled his prescription.

An autopsy showed the patient overdosed with a large amount of methadone in his system.

"He took the whole bottle, it looks like," Jain said.

Jain testified for about six hours including cross-examination as a part of his defense.

The hearing resumes Tuesday at 8am where expert witnesses are expected to testify.


Reader Comments

Has the board considered Dr Jain was RIGHT about the man taking the whole bottle? If the man in THAT much pain he may have wanted to PERMANENTLY end it? That is not Dr Jains fault. Some pain simply can not be eased with out prescription strength medication and going through that pain for long periods of time with no end in sight will cause DEPRESSION. and since no one else was prescribing the meds he will have more than his share of suicidal patients. He was a VERY good Dr. to me and others

After doing a little internet search, it appears as though the NM Medical Board is only interested in making doctors stop prescribing medicines that help people, which include mainly opiates. I would bet that not one single person on that board has chronic pain issues and must take strong medicines to just get through the day or night, which MAY include opiates. And I bet if one of them DOES have chronic pain issues they take opiates, the drug they are trying to get "banned" in NM. Shame on them

THIS IS A WITCH HUNT. I couldn't get help for my lower back pain from any other doctor in Las Cruces except Dr. Jain. He saved my life. Not one single doctor in Las Cruces would prescribe me medication that would relieve my chronic lower back pain. NOT ONE SINGLE DOCTOR IN LAS CRUCES EXCEPT DOCTOR JAIN. If you want proof of how extensive my lower back is messed up I'll show you x-rays and MRI's that will prove I was not taking the medication for "fun". This is just a witch hunt by the med. brd.

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