A Boynton Beach-area doctor was arrested Wednesday after investigators said he was prescribing pain medications either after hours or from his home without performing examinations, and then charging patients in cash for the prescriptions, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report.
Peter Katz, 72, faces one count of unlawful prescription of a controlled substance. He was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Wednesday on $3,000 bail.
Over an unspecified period of time, law-enforcement officers received several complaints that Katz was writing prescriptions for narcotics with little to no interaction with his alleged patients, the sheriff’s office said.
In the early months of 2016, undercover agents recorded phone and in-person conversations with Katz as they attempted to purchase drugs from him. During a visit — which happened at 8:35 p.m. in the doctor’s office — the investigator said the doctor never conducted a physical examination, didn’t take a blood-pressure reading and didn’t ask for any form of identification. But as the undercover agent kept pressing Katz for drugs, Katz became agitated.
The agent said he wasn’t feeling good and wanted to feel better. Katz said he had the “wrong (explicit) doctor,” according to the report.
“Why do you say that if I’m not feeling good?” the undercover agent asked.
“Because I don’t do those things,” Katz replied, according to the report.
“Okay, I hear you. Well, can you just check out why I’m feeling this way or what?” the agent asked.
“You’re in the wrong place,” Katz said, according to the sheriff’s office. “I’m not a pill-pushing doctor.”
Eventually, after more discussion, Katz prescribed the undercover agent a drug called Norco, which he described as a “hydrocodone a little stronger than Vicodin,” according to the report.
Katz charged the agent $100 and told him to never come back and to get checked out by another doctor for his ailments, sheriff’s deputies wrote in the report.
Investigators brought their case to a doctor who is “an expert in pain management” in December. That doctor said giving the prescriptions after business hours with no other staff present, not performing an exam and doing so without a specific diagnosis “would be inappropriate.”
It’s unclear from the report why Katz was arrested in April.
According to Florida Department of Health records, Katz has had a license to practice medicine since 1981 and the license is valid until 2018. He has a certification in family medicine and his practice is on the 3300 block of Boynton Beach Boulevard, just west of Congress Avenue, according to records.