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Hall of Shame - Witnesses for the Prosecution - Jeffrey Barke, M.D.

Dr. Eidelman's Medical Board Hearing Reopens For Testimony Against the Board’s Expert Ruling Due Within Two Months

(Los Angeles, Apr 8, 2004) Dr. Eidelman's hearing before the Medical Board was reopened Apr 7 for additional testimony relating to the credibility and prescribing practices of the Medical Board’s expert.

Dr. Eidelman, who was the only physician openly giving medical marijuana recommendations in the Los Angeles area, had his license suspended without an evidentiary hearing in May, 2002. The suspension was based on Dr. Eidelman’s writing letters of recommendation for medical marijuana to four undercover agents without performing physical examinations or obtaining prior medical records.

The hearing on the charges finally took place over six days in February, 2004. The Board’s expert testified that it was an extreme departure from the standard of care to prescribe any drug or recommend any type of therapy, including dietary changes or exercise without a thorough work-up including a complete physical exam and a detailed history. By failing to do a physical, the Board’s expert went so far as to opine that Dr, Eidelman was not even practicing medicine, and was a danger to the public.

Because of the expert’s exaggerated opinions, Dr. Eidelman and his attorney Richard Jaffe, Esq, of Houston, Texas, decided to perform an undercover operation on the Board’s expert.

Three days after the hearing concluded, a friend of Dr. Eidelman succeeded in obtaining from the Board’s expert a prescription for Viagra, by way of a series of phone calls without any direct, face-to-face doctor/patient contact.

Armed with this new information, Mr. Jaffe moved to reopen the hearing to challenge the board’s expert prior opinion on the need for a physical and history on all patients. The Prosecuting Attorney opposed the request, but Administrative Law Judge Stuart Waxman ruled in Dr. Eidelman’s favor and reopened the hearings.

The reopened hearing heard testimony from the undercover operative and the Board expert. The operative testified that he told the Board’s expert that he had used Viagra in the past, but otherwise the expert asked no questions about his medical history. Dr. Eidelman’s friend managed to obtain a prescription for 4 pills with three refills, all without ever having met the physician.

The Board’s expert insisted that Viagra is a safe drug, killing only about 200 people per year. He also admitted that there is no record of anyone dying from marijuana. The expert explained that he intended to see the undercover in a few days, and would have performed the necessary physical and detailed examination at that time.

The Board's expert further explained that the fact that the operative said he had prior experience with the medication was a significant factor in his deciding to prescribe the dangerous drug without meeting the patient. However, during the February hearings, the expert had rejected a similar argument raised by Dr. Eidelman, namely that all of the undercover agents who requested a recommendation for marijuana had told him that they had used it successfully in the past to alleviate their conditions.

After hearing the testimony of both witnesses, Judge Waxman said he had heard all he needed to hear, and had no need for closing statements from the attorneys.

A ruling by the administrative law judge is expected within 50 days, and the Board’s review of that decision will be made public in an additional 15 days. Dr. Eidelman is hoping for a positive outcome and could begin practicing again soon afterwards.