The black market for prescription painkillers is a billion dollar industry. With such a huge demand for opiate painkillers, people will do whatever it takes to get their drugs. When you have such an in demand product, people will risk everything in order to make money. Greed fuels many dirty doctors to write phony prescriptions for quick cash. Drug dealers and addicts will pay good money for these prescriptions and these dirty doctors rack up a fortune. Ethics and their oath to help others go out the window for many of these physicians. They become consumed in a dark world that is very hard to leave once entered because the money is so great. Millions of lives are affected by the power of these doctors pens and their lack of respect for their profession or the law.
On February 5, 2014 twenty-five people, including medical doctors were charged with their involvement in a giant Oxycodone scheme that filled New York City's black market. It is being estimated that over $500 million dollars worth of the drug was illegally prescribed to “patients.”
The pill mill took place at a clinic called Astramed in the city's Bronx borough that described itself on it's website as a primary care clinic. They offered services ranging from sonograms and weight management to echo cardiograms, but prosecutors said it was simply a pain management clinic. The clinic, owned by Dr. Kevin Lowe, sold fake prescriptions to drug dealers and addicts who bought over 5.5 million oxycodone pills. These pills were distributed up and down the east coast of the US. Lowe collected nearly $12 million for phony doctor visits from undeserving patients. These patients were sent in by drug dealers between January 2011 and January 2014.
25 defendants were charged in the massive illegal pill mill scheme. They were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute narcotics, according to a federal indictment. One of the clinic's medical doctors, Robert Terdiman, was indicted separately in New York State court for conspiracy and criminal narcotic sales. He wrote 8 prescriptions for Oxycodone to undercover narcotics agents.
"This is poison by prescription, and the volume and money allegedly involved would make hardened illegal drug traffickers envious," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The doctors would conduct no physical examinations on the patients. Doctors would prescribe Oxycodone no matter what the undercover officers' responses were according to the investigation. On weekday mornings an average of 100 people would crowd into the clinic to receive their illegal prescriptions. It became so busy and crowded that the clinic hired security guards to control the large amount of people.
Pain management clinics like this one were a huge problem in Florida a few years ago until they became illegal. Pill mills flood the black market in the United States with deadly prescription painkillers. The fact that this clinic has been operating for over 3 years is mind-boggling to me. For a place to be so blatant about their illegal practices and to survive this long just shows how strong of a presence these pills have on the market.