According to a press release, Attorney General Curtis Hill recently obtained a one-year suspension of the medical license of Dr. Faizuddin Shareef, a Lake County physician who gave prescriptions to patients battling addiction without regard to proper procedures and safeguards.
In an administrative complaint against Shareef’s license filed in March, Attorney General Hill alleged that Shareef provided substandard care to patients, eight of whom died of overdoses. Among other things, Shareef routinely ignored urine drug screen results indicating patients were using non-prescribed medications and illicit substances. Some urine tests also showed patients were not using all the drugs prescribed to them by Shareef, indicating they may have been distributing, selling or trading those substances to others. Shareef also continued generating records of office visits by patients who were already deceased at the time of the supposed visits.
In one instance, a patient died of an overdose the day after being seen at Shareef’s practice. At the time of her death, the patient bore on her arms the telltale injection marks of chronic intravenous drug use – signs that should have been observed and recorded at her visit but were not. As with other patients, Shareef also routinely abstained from including this patient’s urine-test results in his medical records.
On May 23, Attorney General Hill sought the permanent revocation of Shareef’s medical license. Although the Indiana State Medical Licensing Board found that Shareef had committed every act alleged by Attorney General Hill, it ultimately chose to impose a lesser penalty.
Previously, Shareef’s medical license was suspended on an emergency basis between July 26, 2018, and December 18, 2018, while the Office of the Attorney General completed its investigation. On December 4, 2018, Shareef surrendered his U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration that enabled him legally to write prescriptions for controlled substances.
Attorney General Hill said he would continue advocating for more stringent penalties against physicians whose wanton negligence and/or substandard practices cause harm to patients.
The medical board also ruled that Shareef must complete certain conditions, such as professional development courses; clinical competence/education and evaluation; and psychiatric evaluation through the Indiana State Medical Association. Further, before any future prescribing of controlled substances, he must be evaluated for reinstatement of such privileges by Indiana’s medical and pharmacy boards.