NORTH WILDWOOD - Two strippers went to a local doctor's office in the summer of 2007.
The women were on a mission for prescription drugs.
And they were police officers.
The lawyer representing Dr. John Costino Jr. said Tuesday that the undercover officers entrapped and lied to the doctor to obtain medication, leading to a state Board of Medical Examiners decision last week to suspend his medical license for at least five years.
One of the women even signed a two-page pain management agreement, promising to use the prescription painkillers properly and not to share them, said Costino's attorney, Glenn A. Zeitz.
"What was done here is beyond the bounds of fair play," Zeitz said.
Zeitz said he will appeal the state board's decision to a state appellate court to get Costino's license reinstated.
Costino also has a related criminal case pending before Superior Court in Cape May County.
Costino was arrested in September 2007 after what the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office said was a long-term investigation into insurance fraud and the illegal distribution of prescription drugs. The two undercover officers saw Costino nine times in 2007. The state Attorney General's Office on Thursday announced Costino's license was suspended indefinitely for falsifying reports to prescribe pain-killer Percocet to the undercover officers.
"The board's order of revocation is appropriate, as Dr. Costino is a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public," state Attorney General Anne Milgram said in a statement.
The attorney general said Costino had no medical reason to write the prescriptions.
But Zeitz contends the undercover officers, who said they were exotic dancers, believing it would be easier to get medication that way, had spoken about medical problems.
"(They) take his license because two agents masquerading as strippers came in and basically misrepresented to him certain things. And how about (one woman) signing a pain management agreement and agreeing to do all the right things and proper things?" Zeitz said.
Costino, who specialized in pain management, geriatric medicine and the treatment of heroin addictions with the drug Suboxone, has an office on Surf Avenue in North Wildwood.
Zeitz said investigators had tried to send an undercover agent to Costino's practice in 2005, and Costino turned him away.
"We argued that shows a lack of predisposition. There was no predisposition of any kind for Dr. Costino to commit any offense," Zeitz said.
In another incident, captured on a hidden recording in August 2007, Costino can be heard on an audiotape telling a Kmart pharmacist not to supply prescription medication to a patient who was trying to get an improper prescription, Zeitz said.
After the undercover investigation, the state medical board temporarily suspended Costino's license in December 2007, prohibiting him from seeing patients. A Cape May County grand jury later indicted him.
Costino had a loyal patient base that protested and spoke on behalf of the doctor, who was a physician in Cape May County for more than 30 years.
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