HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners ruled to temporarily suspend the medical license of Dr. Sammy Fuad Becdach, who was an oncologist at Clearview Cancer Institute.
An order from the state board shows it received information from the Pelham Police Department that Dr. Becdach may have violated professional boundaries with a 21-year-old woman who died of an overdose in December of 2020.
According to the filing, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences autopsy report shows that she died from the toxic effects of Fentanyl and morphine.
The board then opened its own investigation where the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) showed Dr. Becdach had issued the unnamed woman at least nine prescriptions for controlled substances between November 2018 and June 2019, without running a PDMP check before prescribing to her.
Investigators with Pelham Police provided the Board with multiple videos that showed Becdach with the woman, engaging in sexual activity.
The board spoke with the woman’s mother as part of their investigation. She told investigators her daughter met Becdach while working as a hostess when she was 18 years old. Documents show the mother told them “he [Becdach] was buying her [REDACTED ] all kinds of things and, you know, she couldn’t hide it because he bought her a car.”
The mother told investigators that her daughter moved to Huntsville at the request of Becdach, where he “paid for everything” including an apartment, furniture, bills, and also gave her use of his credit card “with no limit.” She also told investigators that Becdach gave her daughter written prescriptions and actual pills.
The filing shows that the mother told investigators her daughter said, “she was afraid to leave [Becdach] because he claimed to be able to make people ‘disappear,’ that he had done it before, and that he had enough money and prestige to get away with it.”
The mother also told investigators about a black briefcase her daughter mentioned. It was said to contain narcotics and benzodiazepines in pill and liquid form. Her daughter reportedly told her that she had woken several times to find Becdach pouring liquid OxyContin into her mouth and then he would rape her.
The mother told investigators she believed Becdach fed her daughter’s addiction to maintain control over her.
The board also interviewed a friend of the woman who died, who told them a similar account. The friend reportedly told them Becdach manipulated the woman through drugs, withholding them until she began experiencing withdrawals. The friend also said that she did not believe the woman was addicted to opioids before meeting Becdach. The friend described the doctor as “very controlling of [redacted] and he would sometimes pay [redacted]’s bills.”
On Tuesday night, Melissa Watkins, a spokesperson with the Clearview Cancer Institute, released the following statement:
While we do not comment on ongoing investigations, we can confirm that Dr. Sammy Becdach is no longer with Clearview Cancer Institute. Our focus is and will continue to be on providing the best patient care.
Clearview Cancer Institute is fortunate to have a care team made up of more than 50 providers, which allows us to ensure continuity of care for our patients. We have a plan in place to continue to provide the excellent patient care we are known for.Melissa Watkins, Clearview Cancer Institute
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week in a case involving two Mobile doctors that to prosecute a doctor for over-prescribing opioids, the state has to show the doctor knew or intended to prescribe the drugs in an unauthorized manner.
Former U.S. Attorney Jay Town spelled out what the evidence would have to show in order to bring a case against a doctor for overprescribing opioids.
“What the Supreme Court said in the Ruan case, which it released on Monday, was that once a defendant meets, has any purpose, any medical purpose for the prescription of a narcotic, the government then has to prove that the prescription was actually made or the distribution of the otherwise licit narcotic was for an unauthorized purpose. An illegal purpose,” Town stated. “It was just for profit, it was for the exchange of sexual favors, there was no medical basis for it.”
The board concluded that there is probable cause that Becdach violated Ala. Code § 34-24-360. A hearing before the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners has been set for September 28.