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NY physician convicted for murder in overdose deaths

A jury in New York recently found a doctor guilty for two oxycodone overdose deaths of former patients.

History of the case: The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the physician in connection to these alleged crimes in June of 2017. The indictment included two counts of the illegal distribution of a medication containing oxycodone that led to the death of two patients.

The DOJ states the physician knowingly and intentionally prescribed the oxycodone medication to these patients without a medical purpose. Oxycodone is a controlled substance. As such, a medical professional is required to have a legitimate medical purpose to prescribe any medication containing this substance.

The DOJ presented evidence to support their claim. This included evidence that the physician prescribed the medication to the two individuals. These individuals then overdosed on the medication shortly after filling the prescription. The government also presented evidence gathered from undercover narcotics detectives. These agents posed as patients and allegedly received prescriptions for oxycodone from the physician. The agents further accuse the physician of then making false medical charts to justify the prescription.

Possible penalties: The government sought forfeiture of any property or assets that were obtained either directly or indirectly from the physician’s profits in the alleged criminal act. This translates to a $10 million fine and a jail sentence of up to 20 years.

Outcome of the case: The case went to a jury trial, which ultimately returned a guilty verdict for the physician.

Next step for the physician: The physician will now appeal the verdict. If successful, an appeal can lead to a reversal of the decision.