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Berlin doctor enters settlement agreement for improperly prescribing drugs

By John Koziol
Union Leader Correspondent

July 22. 2014 7:35PM

BERLIN — An ophthalmologist with a longtime practice in the city has entered into a settlement agreement with the state Board of Medicine for his improperly prescribing painkillers to a patient and other medications to himself and family members.

Under the terms of the unappealable agreement, which culminates an investigation begun by the Board of Medicine in 2013 and precludes any additional disciplinary action against him, Dr. William Foord will no longer be able to prescribe Schedule II, III, IV and V controlled substances; will have to pay a $2,000 fine; and must participate in eight hours of Continuing Medical Education.

Immediately and for the next two years, Foord will have to provide a copy of the settlement agreement to his current and future employers.Foord, who has had a medical license in New Hampshire since 1975, signed the settlement agreement on June 23. It was signed by a representative of the medical board on July 9 and made public July 17.

A member of the Berlin Medical Center, Foord had an emeritus affiliation with Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, an official there said on Monday.

According to the settlement agreement, the Board of Medicine in early 2013 received information that Foord “may be engaged in professional misconduct by inappropriately prescribing controlled substances to patients under his care.”

Following an inquiry, the board on Feb. 14, 2013 issued Foord an Order of Emergency License Suspension of Prescribing Privileges and began the hearings that eventually led to the settlement agreement.

Foord stipulated in the agreement that in April 2007 he began treating patient “P.G.” for recurrent chronic uveitis, primarily in her right eye. The patient was in “significant pain” and Foord, rather than refer her to a pain clinic, managed “P.G.’s” pain by prescribing controlled substances, mostly Oxycodone, from June 2007 through June 2011.

After learning of his actions in regard to “P.G.,” the Board of Medicine on July 6, 2011 issued Foord a letter of concern, but from July through December of that year, Foord continued to prescribe controlled substances for “P.G.”, including Oxycodone and Alprazolam, which goes by the trade name Xanax.

Patient P.G. died on Dec. 29, 2011 and her cause of death, the medical board said, was “acute intoxication from the combined effects of several drugs,” including Oxycodone and Alprazolam.

Separately, the medical board also noted that in March 2008, Foord began treating Patient “K.B.” for “debilitating headaches localized behind each eye related to bilateral occipital muscle pain, painful temporalis muscles, and anxiety and severe emotional stress.”

Over three years, ending in May 2011, Foord prescribed Alprazolam to K.B. and as with P.G., attempted to manage her care himself rather than referring her to a specialist or for drug treatment, the medical board said, adding that Foord should have had “reasonable grounds” to believe that K.B. was addicted to Alprazolam.

In addition to improperly prescribing to K.B. and P.G., Foord, the medical board said, violated both NH Medical Administrative Rules and the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics by prescribing Prilosec to one member of his immediate family and Zoloft to another and by prescribing Lipitor, Prilosec and Enalapril Maleate, used to treat high blood pressure, to himself on several occasions.

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