Doctor in illegal abortions case now faces drug charges

PHILADELPHIA - December 14, 2011

In documents released on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District announced 70-year-old Kermit Gosnell was charged in a 23 count indictment. It was an operation described as a "pill mill" by authorities.

According to the indictment Gosnell, along with staffers at the Women's Medical Center in West Philadelphia, would hand out prescriptions of frequently abused tablets of OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax, and the frequently-abused syrups Phenergan and Promethazine with Codeine. 

The charges state that the customers would sometimes not even be given an exam before prescriptions were handed out.

Furthermore, authorities say Gosnell allowed customers to purchase multiple prescriptions under different names. Customers could even allegedly place orders for refill over the phone and Gosnell would write the prescription and give it to staffers who would allegedly collect cash and tips from customers.

This went on from June 2008 to February 2010, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

The indictment alleges that 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. 

It is further alleged that during the conspiracy Gosnell, with the assistance of his staff, distributed and dispensed, for no legitimate medical purpose, more than 500,000 pills containing oxycodone, more than 400,000 pills containing alprazolam, and more than 19,000 ounces of cough syrup containing codeine.

Charged along with Gosnell are staff members Sherry L. West, Tamirrah M. Fluellen, Kareema N. Cross, Latosha R. Lewis, Earlene Tina Baldwin, Lynda Gail Williams and Steven Massof.

These charges were announced one day after Gosnell's wife, Pearl Gosnell, 50, pleaded guilty to performing an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, two counts of conspiracy and participating in a corrupt organization, according to court documents.

Kermit Gosnell has pleaded not guilty to murder in the deaths of seven babies and a patient who died of a painkiller overdose while waiting for an abortion. On Monday, a judge scheduled pre-trial motions for Aug. 13 and a capital jury trial for March 2013.

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