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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Monday, December 16, 2013

Philadelphia Doctor Sentenced To 30 Years For Running Pill Mill

PHILADELPHIA - Kermit Gosnell, 72, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 360 months in prison for running a pill mill out of his clinic located at 3801-3805 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia.  Gosnell pleaded guilty on July 9, 2013 to 12 counts including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances (oxycodone, alprazolam, and codeine), distribution and aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone, and maintaining a place for the illegal distribution of controlled substances.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe ordered a fine in the amount of $50,000, a $1200 special assessment, and $200,000 in forfeiture.  

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 of 2008 through February 18, 2010.  Gosnell wrote fraudulent prescriptions for hundreds of 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 wrote and sold prescriptions from his medical office for over 600,000 pills containing oxycodone (a Schedule II controlled substance, brand names Percocet, Endocet and OxyContin) including over 100,000 pills of the highly addictive OxyContin 80mg; over 800,000 pills containing alprazolam (a Schedule IV controlled substance, brand name Xanax); and over 27,000 ounces of cough syrup containing codeine (a Schedule V controlled substance, brand name Phenergan with Codeine cough syrup) to cash-paying customers without there being any medical necessity for these prescriptions.  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 of 2010.  Gosnell charged from $115.00 to $150.00, with a follow up visit fee of $50.00 and a $20 fee for refills of controlled substances for cash paying customers.

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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joan E. Burnes and Jessica Natali.

Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525

Updated December 15, 2014