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Press Release

PA Pharmacist Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced for Unlawfully Dispensing Painkillers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Johnstown, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of unlawfully distributing or dispensing a controlled substance, and was sentenced to six months probation and fine of $3,000, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Joseph Martella, Jr., 57, pleaded guilty before, and was sentenced, by United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that between November 2013 and June 2016, Martella, a licensed Pennsylvania pharmacist, dispensed oxycodone, morphine sulfate and hydrocodone by filling prescriptions at Martella Pharmacy in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, knowing said prescriptions were not issued for legitimate medical purposes.

In addition, Martella agreed in a settlement with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that he would not dispense Schedule II or III narcotics for a period of three years and that Martella’s Pharmacy would pay a civil settlement of $300,000 and follow regulatory and reporting requirements established by the DEA.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Martella.

Updated November 19, 2020

Prescription Drugs