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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 26, 2018

United States Files Suit Against Reading-Area Physician for Opioid Prescribing

The United States filed a civil lawsuit today against Stephen Latman, a physician in the Reading, Pennsylvania area, alleging that he wrote improper opioid prescriptions for several of his patients, announced United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.  According to the complaint, Latman issued 343 opioid prescriptions to three of his patients that lacked a legitimate medical purpose and were issued outside of the usual course of his professional practice.

The United States and Dr. Latman have also entered into a Stipulated Order and Consent Judgment, subject to the Court’s approval that would resolve the matter without litigation.  If approved by the Court, the Judgment would require Latman to pay $400,000 to the United States, prohibit Latman from ever seeking a future DEA controlled substance license, require Latman to voluntarily relinquish his license to practice medicine, and require Latman to execute an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be excluded from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal health care programs.

The complaint filed by the United States alleges that Latman, for these three patients, prescribed approximately 123,660 opioid pills from 2014 through 2016.  Those prescriptions were often written for oxycodone 30mg, one of the most heavily abused and most lucrative oxycodone prescriptions on the black market.  An expert review of these prescriptions indicated that the prescriptions were dangerous, inappropriate, and susceptible to illicit use.

“The opioid crisis in our communities has had a devastating impact,” said United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.  “Physicians have the vital responsibility to write prescriptions that are in the best interest of the patient, particularly for opioids.  Our office will continue to hold physicians accountable when they violate that responsibility.”

The United States filed this lawsuit under the Controlled Substances Act.  The complaint contains allegations only, and not findings of liability.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and assisted by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.  Assistant United States Attorney Anthony D. Scicchitano handled the matter. 

Updated March 26, 2018