TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – First, it was a pharmacist, who told state regulators patients were traveling from Tennessee to a Tuscaloosa doctor for Oxycontin prescriptions.
Then, it was officials with the Medicaid program. They said a Tuscaloosa doctor was engaging in excessive billing.
Then, a few years later, another pharmacist spoke up. The same doctor was now prescribing patients who’d traveled from north Alabama controlled substances.
A few months later, a north Alabama pharmacist rang the alarm again. The pharmacist said that the Tuscaloosa doctor – Leon H. Campbell, Jr. – was now prescribing odd mixtures of pain medications to patients.
Earlier this month, the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners acted on the matter, suspending Campbell’s certificate to prescribe controlled substances in the state pending a hearing early next year.
According to the board, Campbell was first licensed to practice medicine in the state in 1988.
The board first received a complaint about Campbell in 2003, according to the agency, when a pharmacist notified regulators about patients traveling from out-of-state to Tuscaloosa for prescription painkillers. At the time, the board sent Campbell a “letter of concern” and ordered him to attend a prescribing course offered by Vanderbilt University.
Before Campbell had even completed the course, regulators said, they had received another complaint – this one from the Alabama Board of Pharmacy – notifying the medical board that their agency had also logged complaints from Florence-area pharmacists about Campbell’s excessive Oxycontin prescriptions.
In 2010, the medical licensure board received a complaint from Medicaid officials alleging that Campbell was billing patients for services excessively. During one three-month period in 2008, Medicaid officials said, Campbell had submitted 331 claims for 706 services, resulting in a $47,335 reimbursement from Medicaid.
“Medicaid auditors also discovered Respondent’s illegible medical record documentation for facet joint injections, absence of fluoroscopy guidance, administering Glucola to a diabetic patient with elevated blood sugar, and lack of consent forms for facet joint injections,” the medical licensure board wrote in an order regarding the case.
At that time, regulators once again issued a “letter of concern” to Campbell and directed him to attend a medical record-keeping course offered by Case Western Reserve University. By 2013, they’d received an additional complaint by Medicaid “alleging that Respondent was over-utilizing urine drug screening and was not adhering to the Board guidelines for prescribing controlled substances.”
In January 2021, the state medical licensure board opened an investigation into Campbell’s prescription practices that revealed the doctor was prescribing controlled substances to 205 different patients from across Alabama, and from Georgia and Florida.
By later July, the board had opened a second investigation, according to agency records, following a complaint from a Tuscaloosa pharmacist. The pharmacist said that he had been presented with a single patient’s prescription that included 84 ten-milligram Percocets, 28 7.5-milligram Percocets, 84 five-milligram Percocets, and 18 fifteen-milligram Oxycodone pills.
In response to questions about the prescription, the agency said Campbell described his method of prescribing as a “self-invented technique called ‘asymmetrical dosing.’”
Asked by the board about the lack of scientific evidence supporting the dosing method, Campbell reportedly said “I know. I invented it.”
Based on its investigation of Campbell, the board concluded there is probable cause to believe that the doctor engaged in the excessive prescription of controlled substances. Campbell is entitled to a hearing on the matter, which is set for Jan. 19, 2023. Until then, the board said, because of “an imminent danger to the public health and safety,” Campbell is prohibited from prescribing controlled substances in the state.
CBS 42 reached out to Leon Campbell for comment on this story but has not yet heard back.