UPDATE: North Adams doctor allegedly prescribed fentanyl to addict who died of overdose
NORTH ADAMS — A local internist who allegedly prescribed fentanyl to a diagnosed addict — who died of an overdose in August — has had his medical license suspended.
Dr. Shaohua Tang, who operates Integrative Medicine on Main Street, "poses an immediate and serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare," according to a statement released by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.
The state suspended Tang's license on Friday for allegedly providing "substandard care" to three patients.
In the other two cases, Tang's practice allegedly prescribed pain medication improperly to patients who showed substance abuse issues, according to documents obtained by the Eagle on Monday.
The first patient — identified in the documents only as Patient A — had seen Tang since 2009, when he was 29 and suffered from chronic back pain, the documents said. The patient, who came to know Tang socially, performed computer services periodically for the doctor in exchange for a reduction in his bill.
On Aug. 17, 2015, the man performed computer services for Tang. On the same day — about one year after the patient was diagnosed with polysubstance abuse disorder — Tang allegedly refilled the man's fentanyl patch prescription.
The next day, the man died of a fentanyl overdose.
Tang allegedly did not keep clear records about when he would prescribe the man medication, including the day of his final fentanyl prescription.
The documents also outline two other cases of Tang's failure to prescribe pain medication properly.
Tang continued to provide pain medication to one patient — named in the documents as Patient B — after noting that the patient exhibited substance abuse behavior.
And in December 2012, his office erroneously refilled the prescription of a man — Patient C — who was supposed to be tapered off of the medication after his wife reported he was misusing it.
Tang has not been charged with any crime, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, which declined to reveal whether Tang was under investigation.
It was not immediately clear what the decision's impact will be on Tang's patients; an employee told an Eagle reporter Monday that she was advised not to comment on the situation.
Tang is a board-certified internist and has been licensed to practice in Massachusetts since 2001, according to the board's statement. A native of China and graduate of Guangzhou Medical College, Tang has the right to appeal Friday's decision within seven days to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals.
Prior to opening Integrative Medicine with his wife in 2005, Tang practiced with Adams Internists.