A Philadelphia abortion doctor already facing murder charges now faces new drug counts, along with several members of his staff, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Dr. Kermit B. Gosnell is charged with illegally prescribing highly-addictive painkillers and sedatives outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, along with related charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The indictment alleges that the 70-year-old doctor, with the help of seven former staffers at Family and Women's Medical Society, ran a prescription "pill mill" out of his office on the 3800 block of Lancaster Avenue from June 2008 through February 2010.
Among the fraudulent prescriptions Gosnell is accused of writing and dispensing are for thousands of frequently-abused tablets such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax, and the frequently-abused syrups Phenergan and Promethazine with Codeine.
Prosecutors said in a news release, "The charges state that customers, often referred to as drug "seekers," met with Gosnell briefly for a cursory exam or no exam, paid him a fee, and then were given prescriptions for controlled substances without there being any legitimate medical purpose for the prescriptions."
Gosnell and staff allegedly allowed customers to purchase prescriptions under multiple names in person, over the phone, or by leaving a message on an answering machine. Staff would even collect cash and "tips" from customers, authorities say in the 23-count indictment.
Prosecutors allege that Gosnell raised his first-visit fee from $115 to $150 and he went from writing several hundred prescriptions a month at the outset to 2,300 filled at pharmacies in January 2010.
"It is further alleged that during the conspiracy Gosnell, with the assistance of his staff, distributed and dispensed, for no legitimate medical purpose, more than 500,000 pills containing oxycodone, more than 400,000 pills containing alprazolam, and more than 19,000 ounces of cough syrup containing codeine," prosecutors said.
Federal agents raided Gosnell's clinic in February 2010 after receiving reports that he was running a pill mill. They reported finding deplorable and unsanitary conditions, including fetal parts in jars.
That led to a state investigation and murder charges against Gosnell. Authorities say babies born alive were killed by having their spinal cords severed with scissors.
Gosnell's attorney, John J. McMahon Jr., says he was unaware of the new charges.
Charged along with Gosnell are office staff Sherry L. West, Tamirrah M. Fluellen, Kareema N. Cross, Latosha R. Lewis, Earlene Tina Baldwin, and Lynda Gail Williams and Steven Massof.
In addition to jail time if convicted, each defendant also faces possible fines, periods of supervised release, forfeiture and special assessments, authorities said.
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