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Lehighton doctor among four named in lawsuit

Published October 09. 2019 12:22PM

A Lehighton doctor is among four defendants named in a lawsuit filed in Carbon County court by a Lackawanna County woman who claims they were negligent/reckless in the medications they prescribed her.

Anna Pinarbasi, of Throop, Lackawanna County, filed the lawsuit against Dr. Peter J. Baddick III, D.O., of Lehighton; and Penn Medical Group, P.C., same address; and DePietro’s Pharmacy LLC of Dunmore, and Tom DePietro, pharmacist.

The lawsuit claims that Baddick was in the practice of pain management, but he was not board certified in using opioid/opiate medications for pain.

The lawsuit says DePietro dispensed the fentanyl painkiller Subsys, which was shipped throughout the state via FedEx.

Subsys, an extremely dangerous, addictive and lethal synthetic opioid that is 100 times more powerful than morphine that was approved in 2012 by the FDA only for “the management of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer, who were already receiving and who were already tolerant to opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain.

According to the suit, John Cacciatore, a Subsys specialty sales representative for Insys Therapeutics Inc. and Baddick developed a close relationship that resulted in Baddick prescribing Subsys for ailments that were not approved.

Pinarbasi claimed Baddick was either paid or was being groomed to be in Insys’ “Speakers Program” in exchange for prescribing Subsys.

The case

The lawsuit claims that in June 2015, Cacciatore visited Pinarbasi, as he had learned that Pinarbasi suffered from sarcoidosis. Cacciatore convinced Pinarbasi that his product, Subsys, was proper for the treatment of her sarcoidosis pain.

The suit says Cacciatore never told Pinarbasi that Subsys was fentanyl and that it was only approved and indicated for patients that were experiencing breakthrough cancer pain.

Cacciatore specifically instructed Pinarbasi not to request Subsys from her regular treating physicians, but to make an appointment with Baddick to obtain the prescription.

Pinarbasi claimed she became addicted, resulting in serious damage to her health and welfare.

From June 11 through Nov. 4, 2015, Baddick prescribed Pinarbasi 1,080 doses of Subsys and 270 OxyContin pills. Twelve days after her initial visit with Baddick, upon the urging of Cacciatore, Pinarbasi’s Subsys prescription was increased to 1,200 mcg, to be taken along with the daily dose of OxyContin that Baddick had been prescribing since June 11, 2015.

DePietro and DePietro’s Pharmacy filled the prescription for and dispensed seven shipments of Subsys, some as strong as 1,200 mcg, and shipped these prescriptions to Pinarbasi’s doorstep.

On July 31, Pinarbasi was rushed to the emergency room at Pocono Medical Center in Stroudsburg, suffering from nausea, hyperventilation and panic attacks, and was diagnosed with narcotic withdrawal. She was prescribed 25 mcg transdermal fentanyl to allow her to function until she received her next carton of Subsys from DePietro’s.

On Dec. 22, Pinarbasi was admitted to the Pocono Medical Center suffering from severe withdrawal when she attempted to stop using the narcotic medications Baddick had prescribed. On Dec. 23, she was transferred to the Carrier Clinic in Belle Meade, New Jersey, suffering from severe narcotic withdrawal symptoms and was admitted to the inpatient narcotic detox protocol.

Pinarbasi learned that Baddick had given full access to her medical chart and records to Cacciatore in violation of Federal HIPAA laws. Pinarbasi has sued Baddick and Penn Medical Group, P.C., for negligence/recklessness in an amount in excess of $50,000, as well as Tom DePietro and DePietro’s Pharmacy LLC, for negligence/recklessness in an amount in excess of $50,000.

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