Five doctors in New York City have been charged with taking more than $5 million in return for prescribing millions of oxycodone pills to purported patients who had no legitimate medical need for them, according to indictments unsealed in federal court Thursday.
The series of indictments described noisy crowds of people standing in long lines at all hours, some with visible signs of drug addiction, at the Staten Island office of Dr. Carl Anderson, prompting neighbors to call the police.
Occasionally, ambulances were sent to treat the pill-seeking patients, the charges say.
Another of the doctors, Dante A. Cubangbang, of Manhattan, and his nurse practitioner prescribed 3.3 million pills that were paid for by Medicare and Medicaid over a three-year period — more than twice as many pills as the next highest prescriber in the state, one indictment shows.
The charges were to be announced at a news conference on Thursday by Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York; James J. Hunt, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York office; and James P. O’Neill, the commissioner of the New York Police Department.
The case — another in a line of prosecutions being brought nationally against doctors, drug company executives and drug dealers — is likely to highlight the ways opioids have been aggressively marketed and have contributed to a national epidemic that killed about 72,000 Americans last year.
In March, five Manhattan doctors were indicted on charges they took bribes and kickbacks from Insys, the manufacturer of Subsys, a spray form of the highly addictive painkiller fentanyl.