Houston Doctor Julia Ward Md Suspended

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A Houston physician’s license has been temporarily suspended for illegally operating a “pill mill” where thousands of prescriptions for addictive drugs were written — often to those suspected of being recruited by drug crews, investigators said.

Dr. Julia Renee Ward, 42, could not be reached for comment on the disciplinary action taken Friday by the Texas Medical Board.

The drugs being prescribed included hydrocodone, xanax and soma, which when taken together are known on the street as the “holy trinity” and the “Houston cocktail.”

Ward did not have the required state license to operate a pain management clinic, according to the medical board.

A new state law designed to eliminate “pill mills” mandates that all pain clinics be wholly owned by physicians, and she had a non-physician partner, Luis Soriano. The board consequently rejected dr julia ward application, records show.

Nonetheless, she and her partner continued operating Tejas Urgent Care Clinic at 415 W. Little York in Houston, the board said.

Had pharmacy link to dr julia ward

In addition, the clinic was located next door to H&W Pharmacy, which was also owned by Soriano. The board records state the clinic’s patients were usually directed there to fill their prescriptions.

On Oct. 25, the state licenses for H&W Pharmacy and its pharmacist in-charge, Victor Egbufalo, were suspended by the Texas Pharmacy Board. The board ruled prescriptions were being filled there without a valid patient-doctor relationship.

That month investigators with the medical and pharmacy boards staked out the pharmacy and Tejas clinic. They observed what they believed were “drug crews” transporting small groups of individuals to obtain prescriptions for addictive drugs there, records show.

Four men, who appeared to be patrolling the parking lot, were seen directing the individuals to the clinic dr julia ward and pharmacy.

“A number of patients were from out-of-state, including residents of Alabama and Louisiana,” the medical board found.

Most conducted their business in cash, and many provided the same address and telephone number for their residence, records showed.

13,469 prescriptions

H&W pharmacy had reported filling only 95 prescriptions for controlled substances from Oct. 11, 2009 to Oct. 11, 2010.

Yet a download of the pharmacy’s computer showed that in just a nine-month period ending in October Ward and her designees had written 13,469 prescriptions for controlled substances.

The doctor wrote 8,120 of those scripts herself, the report said.

Two other pain clinics dr julia ward — Spring Wellness Center and Better Life Pain Clinic — have also been closed since the new pain clinic law took effect in September.

According to a medical board investigator, while he was investigating the Spring Wellness Center, which was suspected of being a “pill mill,” he reported Ward showed up there to be interviewed as its medical director, too.