Philadelphia Doctor Pleads Guilty to Running Pill Mill
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 09, 2013|
PHILADELPHIA—Kermit Gosnell, 72, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to 12 counts in connection with running a pill mill out of his clinic located at 3801-3805 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. Gosnell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, including oxycodone, alprazolam, and codeine; distribution and aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone; and maintaining a place for the illegal distribution of controlled substances. U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 4, 2013. He faces an advisory sentencing guideline range of 292 to 365 months in prison.
Gosnell, with the assistance of several of his former office staff at Family Medical Society, a division of Women’s Medical Society Inc. (WMS), ran a prescription pill mill from June 2008 through February 18, 2010. Gosnell wrote fraudulent prescriptions for thousands of prescription pills and the frequently abused syrups Phenergan and Promethazine with codeine to drug “seekers” who met with Gosnell briefly for a cursory exam or no exam. Gosnell and his staff allowed customers to purchase multiple prescriptions under multiple names; customers could place orders for refills in person, over the phone, or by leaving a message on a WMS office answering machine; the WMS office staff would give the refill orders to Gosnell, who, without seeing the customer, would write the requested prescription and give it to WMS staff who would then collect cash and “tips” from customers. Gosnell went from writing several hundred prescriptions for controlled substances per month filled at pharmacies in 2008 to over 2,300 filled at pharmacies in January 2010. Gosnell charged from $115 to $150, with a follow up visit fee of $50 and a $20 fee for refills of controlled substances for cash paying customers.
“Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic, made worse by unscrupulous doctors and other professionals who use their licenses to distribute dangerous drugs to addicts and those who have no actual medical need for the drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. “The investigation and prosecution of those involved in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs is a priority of the Department of Justice and this United States Attorney’s Office.”
“Doctors who deal powerful drugs to vulnerable people are violating their own oath—and our country’s laws,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko. “The FBI and its partners are committed to investigating illegal drug distribution, whether it’s via a street pusher or a prescription pad.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration wishes to thank all of the law enforcement agencies that participated in this investigation as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office for their support in the prosecution of Kermit Gosnell,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge David G. Dongilli. “The investigation included undercover purchases of oxycodone, a highly addictive Schedule II controlled substance, and it revealed that Gosnell and members of his staff were using his medical license and DEA registration as a shield to cover his drug distribution operation.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joan E. Burnes and Jessica Natali.