A Philadelphia physician whose prescriptions for controlled substances jumped from several hundred per month in 2008 to 2,300 in January 2010 has been charged with operating a prolific pill mill out of a women's clinic. The physician, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was already facing separate murder charges for a string of allegedly illegal abortions.
Pill-mill charges for doc in murder case
Gosnell, 70, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia for writing prescriptions for hundreds of thousands of commonly abused medications from his medical office, the Family and Women's Medical Society on Lancaster Avenue, between June 2008 and February 2010. Prosecutors announced the 23-count grand jury indictment plus charges in four related criminal information filings.
The U.S. attorney's office in eastern Pennsylvania also charged seven of Gosnell's employees with taking part in the scheme to illegally prescribe addictive painkillers and sedatives, sometimes without examining the patients when they sought the drugs, prosecutors said in a news release. The patients—referred to as "seekers" in the office—are said to have paid between $115 and $150 for an initial office visit and sometimes a cursory exam, usually after regular office hours, prosecutors said.
Gosnell and his office are accused of distributing more than 500,000 oxycodone pills, 400,000 doses of alprazolam and 19,000 ounces of codeine cough syrup without medical necessity.
The Associated Press reported that Gosnell was already facing murder charges when the pill-mill conspiracy indictment was announced. Authorities charged Gosnell with killing one patient and seven babies who allegedly had their spinal cords severed after they were born alive at the now-closed clinic.
Gosnell's attorney, John J. McMahon Jr., said Gosnell has denied the murder allegations and was not aware of the drug-conspiracy charges, according to the Associated Press. Gosnell remains in jail without bail after a state grand jury charged him with murder.
Gosnell's wife, Pearl, pleaded guilty this week to performing an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, two counts of conspiracy and participating in a corrupt organization, according to the Associated Press.
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