A few weeks ago I wrote an article about a pain management clinic in Bronx, New York that was caught selling illegal prescriptions for painkillers. The pill mill illegally sold over 5 million immediate release oxycodone pills. This investigation had an estimated street value of close to $500 million! The pain clinic would often see hundreds of patients a day and was so busy that they hired private security to keep the crowds under control.
Interesting enough, one of the prescribing doctors from the clinic died of an apparent overdose the night before the raid took place. A 911 call brought emergency personnel to the home of a relative in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, N.Y., said Capt. Enzio Villalta of the Amherst Police Department. Dr. Tomasito Virey's body was found in a bedroom where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities are awaiting the results of a toxicology report before they can announce whether the death was an accident or suicide. Captain Villalta said that prescription drugs were indeed found in the home. Though he did not clarify if the drugs were prescription painkillers or not. It is interesting that Dr. Virey died the night before the raid, making some wonder if he knew it was going to happen. The following day after his death, the clinic he worked at was raided and his old boss and about 20 other alleged drug traffickers were arrested.
According to law enforcement officials who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity said that Dr. Virey was a main target of the investigation and had been in contact with law enforcement prior to the raid. The officials declined to say whether Dr. Virey was cooperating in the investigation or if he may have had prior knowledge of the raids.
Dr. Virey, 59, of Manhasset, N.Y., was the target of another investigation in 2012. The investigation alleged that the Astramed Pain Management Clinic he was running had become a "pill mill." According to a report form the state Department of Health records, it showed that he wrote over 3,200 prescriptions for the painkiller oxycodone in 2011. This is more than any other doctor in the state of New York.
After the report was published by NBC affiliates, Dr. Virey received too much negative publicity to keep the clinic open. He turned the clinic over to another doctor in 2012. That doctor was later arrested on charges alleging he wrote more than 18,700 prescriptions for more than three million painkillers in less than two years.
It makes you wonder what makes a doctor head in the illegal direction of filling prescriptions for Doctor Shoppers. Doctors work very hard to achieve their medical license. I wonder how many of these dirty doctors are becoming addicted to the very drugs they are illegally prescribing, or if the money is too tempting. Whatever the case may be, there is a lot of doctor shopping going on and I applaud the NYPD for the job they did on shutting down another pill mill.