UPDATE: Wheelersburg Doctor's License Suspended Permanently

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 7/12/13
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Medical Board has permanently suspended the license of a doctor referred to as "one of the largest dispensers of controlled substances in the United States."

In a meeting this week, Margy Temponeras, MD, a doctor from Portsmouth, who operated Unique Pain Management in Wheelersburg, lost her license.

According to the Ohio Medical Board, Temponeras "prescribed controlled substances under non-emergent circumstances to a patient with whom she was engaged in a personal relationship."

Temponeras' office was raided in 2011.

According to testimony in a 2011 hearing, Temponeras had been on the radar of the Board of Pharmacy for some time because of the extensive security at her office and dispensary. They say that included a large vault and inside and outside high-tech surveillance cameras.

UPDATE 1/11/12 @ 3:45 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) --The Ohio Medical Board has indefinitely suspended the license of a doctor referred to as “one of the largest dispensers of controlled substances in the United States.”

In a meeting Wednesday, Margy Temponeras, MD, a physician from Portsmouth, Ohio, who operated Unique Pain Management in Wheelersburg, Ohio, lost her license, according to a release from the Ohio Medical Board.

The Board’s action was based on the Immediate Suspension of her DEA Certificate by the Drug Enforcement Administration in May 2011. The DEA Immediate Suspension included the following allegations:

  • Between approximately January 1, 2007 and November 3, 2009, Dr. Temponeras made over 3,000 unauthorized distributions of controlled substances in violation of federal law.
  • Dr. Temponeras ordered more than 800,000 dosage units of various oxycodone products in 2010, and she prescribed and dispensed those Schedule II controlled substances to individuals for other than a legitimate medical purpose or outside the usual course of professional practice.
  • Dr. Temponeras prescribed or dispensed controlled substances to individuals under certain circumstances, which indicated that the controlled substances would be abused or diverted for illegal uses.
  • Dr. Temponeras prescribed or dispensed combinations of controlled substances consisting of two strengths of oxycodone and alprazolam to three patients who died as a result of drug overdoses that likely involved the controlled substances she prescribed or dispensed.

    The Medical Board’s decision suspends Dr. Temponeras medical license. According to the release, Dr. Temponeras must have a full and unrestricted DEA certificate and complete controlled substance prescribing continuing education courses before she is eligible to apply for reinstatement or restoration of her license in the future.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

    UPDATE 6/10/11 @ 2:02 p.m.
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has denied a request by Dr. Margy Temponeras to have her license to buy, store and dispense controlled substances reinstated.

    The unanimous decision was made following a nearly four hour meeting in Columbus Wednesday afternoon.

    Temponeras' office in Wheelersburg was raided May 17 by Drug Enforcement Agency agents. Her license to prescribe and dispense controlled substances was suspended at the time of the raid.

    In a press release, the DEA calls Dr. Margy Temponeras one of the largest dispensers of controlled substances in the United States.

    Several people testified during Wednesday's hearing including Assistant Attorney General Tracy Greuel who told the board that Temponeras had a former employee of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office running her dispensary.

    "There is a problem if any unlicensed healthcare professional can have complete access to drugs. It's not permitted by law," said Agent Kevin Kinnear.

    The Sheriff’s Office has since clarified that the man in question was only a Volunteer Special Deputy from 1978-1997 under a former Sheriff.

    According to testimony during the hearing, Temponeras had been on the radar of the Board of Pharmacy for some time because of the extensive security at her office and dispensary. They say that included a large vault and inside and outside high tech surveillance cameras.

    Brad Barbin, the lawyer for Dr. Temponeras, told the board his client was not aware that she had broken any laws.

    Temponeras has the right to appeal the Pharmacy Board’s decision.

    UPDATE 5/17/11@ 6:20 p.m.
    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Federal agents executed search warrants at a pain clinic run by Dr. Margy Temponeras in Wheelersburg Tuesday morning.

    DEA officials are calling Dr. Temponeras one of the largest dispensers of controlled substances in the United States.

    "The place is closed. There will be no more narcotics coming out of here until she goes through the process and they make a final decision," Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini said.

    "This particular execution of a search warrant and suspension of her license is a big deal," Donini continued. "You can talk to anybody in local law enforcement; she's at the top. The reason being she dispenses so much Oxycontin. A lot of it is directly through her office. I'm sure a lot of that is hitting the street."

    However, not everyone in Wheelersburg is convinced the efforts to get prescription drugs off the streets are heading in the right place.

    "Trust me, I'm not saying there's not a problem in this county that doesn't need addressed, but I think they're addressing it in the wrong way," said Jennifer Kinker, whose parents work for Dr. Temponeras. "I have personal knowledge of her and how she runs her business through my parents; they do everything absolutely legitimately."

    Local health department leaders call this a major win for a county that's been fighting what seems to be an uphill battle.

    "Short term, I think we still have a major battle still to fight. I think long term, this is the beginning of the end," Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner said.

    The licenses of three other doctors in Scioto County also were suspended Tuesday. One was Dr. Margy Temponeras’ father Dr. John Temponeras, who resigned from Southern Ohio Medical Center Tuesday.

    Dr. Mark Fantazuzzi's and Dr. Michael Dawes' licenses also were suspended. Their cases were not involved with the Temponeras.

    The DEA also served immediate suspension orders on Prime Pharmacy in Portsmouth.

    No charges have been filed.

    UPDATE 5/17/11@ 1:40 p.m.
    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) --The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has released additional information on the action taken against four doctors and a pharmacy in Scioto County, Ohio on Tuesday.

    According to a press release, the DEA served Immediate Suspension Orders (ISO) on physicians Margy Temponeras, John Temponeras, Mark Fantazuzzi, and Michael Dawes. The DEA also served an ISO on Prime Pharmacy located at 902 Fourth Street in Portsmouth.

    Federal agents arrived at Dr. Margy Temponeras’ office in Wheelersburg about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

    In a press release, the DEA calls Dr. Margy Temponeras one of the largest dispensers of controlled substances in the United States.

    They also say Dr. Fantazuzzi and Dr. Dawes, both have worked at one time at Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management in Portsmouth, Ohio, and are responsible for the prescribing of hundreds of thousands of oxycodone products and anti-anxiety medications over the past two years.

    The DEA says the ISO for Prime Pharmacy prevents employees from continuing to possess, order, or dispense controlled substances, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.

    The Immediate Suspension Orders are based on a preliminary finding by DEA that the continued registration of the doctors and pharmacy constitutes an imminent danger to public health and safety, according to the press release.

    “Nationally, prescription drug abuse is one of our largest substance abuse problems, and in southern Ohio abuse of pharmaceuticals has reached almost epidemic proportions," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso. "Doctors that prescribe dangerous drugs, for reasons not driven by medical need, are a danger to the community. The actions taken today illustrate that DEA is committed to work with our law enforcement partners and attack this problem head on.”

    In addition, the DEA served notice of an Order to Show Cause on Physicians Pharmacy at 727 Second Street in Piketon, Ohio.

    Physicians Pharmacy has applied for a DEA Certificate of Registration to handle controlled substances, but are being denied until a hearing can be held in front of a judge on the matter. A DEA spokesman tells WSAZ.com without this license, they can still sell over the counter medications, just not controlled substances. He also tells WSAZ.com that the reason this Order to Show Cause was put into place is because "the statements made by their corporate officers and pharmacists lack understanding about diversion and illicit use of pharmaceutical controlled substances." Physicians Pharmacy has 30 days to file for a hearing about their license.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued the following statement on today’s actions:
    "Today's action reinforces our commitment to putting an end to the prescription drug abuse problem in Ohio. We are fighting the battle on all fronts, with our BCI agents working in partnership with other state agencies, local law enforcement, and federal authorities. We are serious about this fight, and we aren't going to relent."

    No charges have been filed against any of the doctors.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.

    ORIGINAL STORY 5/17/11 @ 11:31 a.m.
    WHEELERSBURG, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Federal Agents have executed a search warrant at a doctor’s office in Wheelersburg.

    FBI and DEA Agents showed up at the office of Dr. Margy Temponeras about 9 a.m. Tuesday. The office is located along Center Street in Wheelersburg.

    Our crew on the scene says the area around the office has been sealed off.

    The Scioto County Sheriff tells WSAZ.com that the licenses of Margy Temponeras and three other doctors, along with one pharmacist in the Portsmouth area have been suspended as part of today’s actions. The Sheriff says one of those doctors is Dr. John Temponeras.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.

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