- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Lawrence-Based Doctor Charged With Illegally Prescribing Drugs to Substance Use Disorder and Chronic Pain Patients
Thomas Dalton, Deputy Press Secretary
SALEM — A Lawrence family medicine physician has been indicted for illegally prescribing controlled substances including amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and morphine sulfate and for defrauding the state’s Medicaid program (MassHealth), Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Methuen resident Dr. Ramon Suarez-Martinez, age 69, the former medical director at Lawrence Medical Center, was indicted Wednesday by an Essex County Grand Jury on charges of Illegal Prescribing of a Controlled Substance (12 counts, in connection with 6 patients) and Medicaid False Claims (6 counts). He will be arraigned in Essex Superior Court on May 19, 2022.
The investigation revealed that in many instances, Dr. Suarez-Martinez prescribed controlled substances to his patients including amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and morphine sulfate, even when he knew from repeated urine drug screens that they were not taking the drugs. The AG’s Office alleges that Dr. Suarez-Martinez knowingly prescribed drugs such as clonazepam, a benzodiazepine; amphetamines; and morphine sulfate, an opiate; for no legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice, and that these illegal prescriptions resulted in false claims billed to and paid for by MassHealth.
In several instances, urine drug screens indicated that patients were negative for the prescribed medications but positive for illicit substances such as cocaine or fentanyl. In spite of those screens, Dr. Suarez-Martinez allegedly continued to prescribe to those patients without addressing the illicit drug use or altering the treatment plan in any meaningful way.
These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Suarez-Martinez no longer holds a license to practice medicine.
This case is being investigated and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gregoire Ucuz, Senior Trial Counsel Elisha Willis, and Investigations Supervisor Christopher Cecchini, all of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division. MassHealth referred this matter to the AG’s office and provided substantial assistance in the investigation. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s Boston Office, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Department of Public Health also participated in and supported the investigation.
The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award. The remaining 25 percent is funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.