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Doctor Gives Up Medical License

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A longtime Albuquerque physician permanently surrendered his state medical license just days before a hearing on allegations that he overprescribed narcotics to patients.

Dr. Barry Maron, 72, agreed he would never again apply for a license to practice medicine in New Mexico, according to an order by the New Mexico Medical Board.

Maron, who has also been under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, wrote more than 20,000 prescriptions for nearly 1,200 patients from October 2009 to October 2010. One patient was prescribed 4,200 methadone tablets a month for pain.

The board earlier this year accused Maron of endangering the public and issued an emergency suspension of his license pending a more exhaustive hearing, which had been set for Monday. The hearing has been canceled.

The board alleged that since January 2009, Maron had prescribed multiple patients with excessive doses and dangerous combinations of opioids and other psychotropic medications.

Maron’s attorney, Paul Kennedy, had no comment Wednesday but previously noted that his client, who had once practiced as an orthopedic surgeon, has had a “distinguished career.”

Maron, who was licensed by the medical board 40 years ago, still faces a wrongful death lawsuit involving a University of New Mexico hospital nurse who died of an apparent drug overdose.

The attorney who filed that case, David M. Fine, said Wednesday he expects to file two more lawsuits against Maron.

“A lot of his former patients and potential plaintiffs in lawsuits now are pleased with the medical system,” Fine said, “having been incredibly disappointed with a doctor and a prescription pad.

“There’s some relief that it (the medical system) is policing itself, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Several others who have contacted the Journal defended Maron as helping with their severe chronic pain and said they were afraid of what would happen to them if the board revoked his license.

In June, a pain management expert testified that hospital emergency rooms should expect former patients experiencing drug withdrawals. That testimony came during a hearing on Maron’s emergency suspension.

Some of Maron’s patients, hearing testimony showed, turned to him after another Albuquerque physician accused of overprescribing by the medical board gave up treating chronic pain patients in 2008.

Even with Maron is no longer prescribing, Fine said, “The fear is that one (source) may close but another shop is going to open up and continue the process.”
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal