Gracia Mayard, Queens doctor, runs from authorities in oxycodone prescription case

Pharmacy tech with hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, Pharmacy tech with hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, the generic version of Vicodin. Photo Credit: AP, 2010

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A Queens doctor on the run from Nassau County and federal investigators was charged Tuesday with illegally distributing hundreds of thousands of pills of the prescription painkiller oxycodone on Long Island and in Queens.

Gracia L. Mayard, 61, a physician with offices in his home in Cambria Heights and in Forest Hills, surrendered his license to prescribe controlled substances in February when questioned by authorities about his prescriptions, according to the arrest warrant, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

But he continued to prescribe the painkiller after giving up his license, the warrant said.

When Nassau detectives and agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration went to his home Tuesday morning, he was not there. And sources familiar with the case said he responded to a call to his cellphone asking him to give himself up by telling investigators, "I'm not going to tell you where I am."

Mayard's attorney, Gilbert Parris of Brooklyn, declined to comment Tuesday, as did Eastern District Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode, who filed the arrest warrant.

"There is a warrant for Dr. Mayard's arrest," Eastern District spokesman Robert Nardoza said. "Hopefully, he will come in and surrender."

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The warrant stated that an unidentified Suffolk County pharmacy told investigators a patient of Mayard's had come there to fill an oxycodone prescription last week. Mayard surrendered his license Feb. 7, but the prescription was written Feb. 28.

Investigators initially went to Mayard's home office Feb. 7 to check out the greatly increasing number of oxycodone prescriptions the doctor had written in the past five years.

According to state records, Mayard wrote 407 prescriptions for oxycodone for a total of 33,520 pills between Dec. 20, 2008, and Dec. 28, 2009, the warrant stated. But between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 3, 2012, Mayard wrote 2,953 prescriptions for the painkiller, or 376,469 pills.

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When investigators initially questioned Mayard, the warrant stated he said: "I know that it is a big problem, but what happens to the oxycodone after I write the prescriptions is not my concern. . . . It's just like a person that sells guns, he cannot control what happens after he sells a gun."

According to the warrant, when investigators first came to Mayard's house, an unnamed son of the doctor told them his father was not at home. But as they watched the house, the investigators saw Mayard trying to sneak out of the house into a van while "attempting to conceal his head and face with his jacket," the warrant said.

When approached, Mayard agreed to speak to the investigators and took them to what he said was his home office, the warrant said.

What Mayard described as his "exam room" had an "exam table covered with dust and papers . . . no other diagnostic items that are commonly present in a medical doctor's office were observed," the warrant said.

Investigators noted that "many patients' files had little or no information [about their medical conditions] and yet all of them were prescribed oxycodone," the warrant said.

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When investigators asked about the lack of information, Mayard told them "he had been very busy and hasn't been able to go back and fill in the information," the complaint said.

One patient, identified only as John Doe No. 1, told investigators that when he first saw Mayard, the doctor performed no medical exam, but gave him a prescription for 120 30-mg oxycodone pills for $150 in cash, the warrant said.

When the patient wanted a larger number of pills, Mayard told the patient to give him the names of family members or friends and he "would write prescriptions in their names," the warrant said.

Subsequently, the patient said Mayard wrote oxycodone prescriptions in those names, charging about $200 in cash for 120 30-mg pills and $300 for a prescription for 180 pills, the warrant said.

The patient said "that he knew he was addicted to oxycodone and that he sometimes sold pills and gave pills to others to support his habit."

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