Norman doctor allegedly wrote 4,000 illegal prescriptions
BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor
Saturday, July 21, 2012
7/21/12 at 7:10 AM
View the OBNDD hearing notice for Dr. Harold Hagglund.
A Norman doctor whose prescription registration expired two years ago allegedly wrote more than 4,000 prescriptions since then for pain pills and other controlled substances after meeting patients in a Starbucks coffee shop and a Tulsa nutrition store, records show.
Dr. Howard Hagglund's authority to prescribe controlled dangerous substances had been suspended in December 2010 when he failed to renew it, according to a notice filed by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. However Hagglund continued to prescribe hydrocodone, Xanax, testosterone and other drugs until May, the notice states.
The Tulsa World sent messages to Hagglund via Facebook and his website, but he could not be reached for comment.
Hagglund, 72, met patients in retail stores and wrote prescriptions without examining them or taking vital measurements such as blood pressure or weight, the notice states.
The agency is recommending that Hagglund's request to renew his OBNDD registration to prescribe controlled substances be denied. He requested the renewal March 1, 2012, and because of the gap in registration, agents checked his prescription record.
"Renewal of Respondent's OBNDD registration would not be consistent with the public interest due to Respondent's failure to maintain an appropriate office in which physical examinations can be conducted; failure to maintain appropriate medical records; failure to conduct appropriate tests and failure to guard against the diversion of CDS to unauthorized persons," the July 5 notice states.
"Respondent reported to OBN agents ... that currently he did not have an office and that his ex-girlfriend let him use an extra room in her home to 'office out of,' '' the hearing notice states.
"Respondent also reported that he generally arranged to see his patients at a Starbucks coffee shop in a Barnes and Noble bookstore and occasionally saw patients in a nutrition store in Tulsa."
The notice does not state which city the Starbucks was located in, but officials at OBNDD said the store was in Norman.
Hagglund is currently licensed to practice medicine in Oklahoma, but state law requires doctors to have an OBNDD registration, renewable every three years, if they prescribe controlled dangerous substances such as pain medication.
Hagglund was placed on probation by the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision in 2008 and fined $20,000, records show. His medical license remained on probation until Jan. 14, 2010.
That action occurred after Hagglund treated numerous patients for thyroid issues, including an 8-year-old boy, without examining them, records state. He treated some patients out of state via "telephone visits," records show.
He was reprimanded in 1998 after leaving blank, signed prescription forms for a physician assistant to prescribe controlled substances when Hagglund was out of town, records show.
Hagglund currently has a website in which new and current patients can pay between $50 and $90 for various kinds of "visits" and pay for them via credit card online. His site displays numerous blog postings discussing thyroid disease and products for sale designed to treat it.
His website states that he founded the "Hagglund clinic," authored several books and hosted a radio show on alternative medicine for 23 years.
"Dr. Hagglund's techniques and natural therapies are not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any disease, physical or mental," his website states. "Working with him should not be construed as a prescription, a promise of benefits, claims of cures, or a guarantee of results to be achieved. The information, instruction or advice given by a Dr. Hagglund is not intended to be a substitute for competent professional medical or psychological diagnosis and care.''
When contacted by agents for the OBNDD, Hagglund told them "he did not keep patient files, but that he kept a notebook with notes of the patients he sees," the hearing notice states.
"Respondent stated that he did not weigh his patients or take vitals such as blood pressure or temperature and that he interviewed his patients to get an idea of their medical needs. He further reported that he did not conduct any tests or blood work.
"Respondent reported that some of his patients would take their blood pressure at home and report to him what it was or that the patient would report test results taken by their primary care physician and he would then prescribe based upon the patient's report."
Hagglund prescribed medications including hydrocodone, Xanax, Suboxone and testosterone to his patients, the notice states. While Hagglund told agents that "most of his practice was prescribing thyroid medication" records showed in 2011, he wrote 3,200 prescriptions for controlled dangerous substances, the notice alleges.
Though he told agents he was filling in for another doctor between September 2011 and January 2012, records show he wrote 93 new prescriptions for controlled substances after January, the notice alleges.
Original Print Headline: Doctor's practices draw state scrutiny
Ziva Branstetter 918-581-8306
Dr. Howard Hagglund: He is said to have met clients in a Starbucks and other stores where he gave them prescriptions for controlled drugs