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Wayne Psychiatrist, 84, Arrested, Charged With Writing Illegal Prescriptions

Authorities said she sometimes met with undercover agents posing as patients for only 10 minutes before prescribing pain-killers.

A Wayne psychiatrist who was arrested for allegedly writing illegal prescriptions for oxycodone from her home office was released on $1 million bail after an appearance in federal court Tuesday, according to a special agent from the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Dr. Priscilla Ilem, 84, of Alps Road was arrested early Tuesday after a two-month investigation involving Wayne police and the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency. She was charged with distribution of prescription drugs for allegedly writing 291 prescriptions for 238 patients during June and July, DEA special agent Douglas Collier said Tuesday. 

Ilem appeared later in the day before U.S. Magistrate Patty Schwartz in Newark, where she was charged and released on $1 million bail. She also surrendered all prescription pads in her possession, Collier said. 

The criminal complaint against Ilem - provided to Wayne Patch by the DEA - states she unlawfully prescribed the pain-killer oxycodone to confidential sources working with the DEA. After office visits that lasted an average of just 10 minutes, and which involved no physical examination or testing, Ilem charged a cash fee of $200 and provided a prescription slip for drugs, the complaint states.

The charges Tuesday weren't the first time Ilem faced questions from authorities. In 2001, according to the complaint, she was under investigation for a variety of regulatory offenses, including post-dating a prescription, allegedly distributing controlled substances, keeping improper records, failing to properly label and dispose of drugs, and prescribing medication to a patient without an exam. In 2007, the New Jersey Medical Board issued a formal reprimand and required that she take a record-keeping course.

Police indicated Ilem was apparently aware she was under suspicion over the past few months. She called Wayne police on Aug. 9, complaining that "she was very concerned that someone was using her name to write prescriptions," according to Collier, who added that Ilem made the call in an attempt to cover her tracks.

Ultimately, Ilem "admitted that what she had done was wrong, because she is a psychiatrist, not a pain management doctor," according to the complaint.

According to a public listing on , Ilem, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines, "owns and operates a private psychiatric practice" where "she supports patients speaking English and Tagalog." Her license was due to expire in 2013.

Collier said the agency has set up a special task force dedicated to doctors who prescribe drugs outside their normal area of expertise.

"Whether you are 84 or 104," Collier said, "a doctor takes an oath to do the right thing by their patients, and we won't tolerate these doctors hiding behind their white lab coats and stethoscopes."

When asked about clients who may have received legitimate care from Ilem, Collier said the goal was to prevent the distribution of illegal pharmaceuticals, so those patients had little reason to be concerned.

"Oxycodone is an opiate," he said. "And it is these pills that are made available to adolescents, and these get them into heroin. And so it's important that we stop it at the source." 

Pete August 24, 2011 at 10:21 PM
"Allegedly writing 291 prescriptions for 238 patients during". Key word is "Allegedly". Innocent until proven guilty people. I got shit loads of obvious drugs dealers in my community. Where's the cops busting down their doors???? Wish law enforcement would put this much effort cleaning up my streets as they do for a 84 year old grandma. "EVERY PARENTS WORST NIGHTMARE"???? haha, lady your kids have way more to be scared of than this doctor. She isn't nothing compared to what's on the streets. Grow up.
Ashley Danks January 30, 2012 at 01:05 AM
She IS every parents worst nightmare! I have worked with her before and she is dangerous. At the time I was only 17 years old and without my parents present she would always be asking me if she could inject me with something. In addition, she prescribed a medication that causes seizures in patients with my condition at the time.. not a side effect, like the company tells you NOT to prescribe to patients with certain conditions. Thank God she is no longer practicing medicine!
cmn February 20, 2012 at 05:43 AM
This lady got my cousin addicted to pain medication. She was confronted and told not give my family anymore pills and wouldn't listen. She has particpated in the drug addiction my cousin has now. And there are no words to describe the pain that you have when you see your family member dying from this disease called addiction.
Mitchell Davis October 14, 2013 at 05:07 PM
We are only getting one side of the story here. I have a feeling that she can justify a lot of what she has done. Although, it does seem like she was too liberal with the Oxycodone.
Chris Traynor October 15, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Hey Pete! You wrote to a number of commenters: "EVERY PARENTS WORST NIGHTMARE"???? haha, lady your kids have way more to be scared of than this doctor Pete, read carefully and your comprehension and communication will go way up ... commenters are rightly saying "Every PARENT'S" worst nightmare" or fear. Yes, there are far more dangerous things out there ... like, say you were in charge of reading teenagers their rights. Talk about spooky! You'd screw it all up and tell them "They have a ride to a turn-key if there's booze to inspect it." As for PARENTS, its pretty damn scary to have a psychiatrist (!!!) handing out scripts for Oxycodone like they were business cards.

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