Five New York doctors have been charged for prescribing millions of highly-addictive oxycodone pills to patients without examining them.
Drs Carl Anderson, Dante Cubangbang, Nkanga Nkanga, Anthony Pietropinto and Nadem Sayegh have been accused of running an illegal prescription drug mill that resulted in multiple deaths and several overdoses.
According to Manhattan federal prosecutors, the physicians often dished out pills under other people’s names and without physically examining them or seeing them.
In return, many of them received cash payments or luxury gifts such as alcohol, dinners and all-expenses paid vacations.
Five New York doctors have been charged for prescribing millions of highly-addictive oxycodone pills to patients. Dr Dante Cubangbang (left) prescribed 4.6 million oxycodone pills in the last six years alone. Dr Nkanga Nkanga (right) prescribed more 100 oxycodone pills per patient per month on average
Dr Anthony Pietropinto, (pictured), a psychiatrist who operated out of an office on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, allegedly prescribed thousands of oxycodone pills that led to at least one overdose death
Authorities say that Dr Cubangbang, 50, whose office was in a pain clinic in Queens, prescribed 4.6 million oxycodone pills in the last six years alone.
Dr Cubangbang’s clinic itself dished out 6.2 million oxycodone pills, an equivalent of 180 kilograms of pure oxycodone, over six years and brought in more than $5.7 million in patient fees over the last three.
Three of Cubangbang’s associates – nurse John Gargan, office manager Michael Kellerman and crew chief Loran Piquant – were also charged by prosecutors.
According to court documents, Gargan alone prescribed 1.6 million oxycodone pills.
However, Kellerman was recorded on tape in August 2018 berating Gargan for not bringing enough patients into the clinic.
‘There’s no reason not to have patients,’ Kellerman says on the tape, according to the court documents.
‘Ten million documented people living in New York City and another two, three, maybe four million undocumented…Are you telling me you cannot…get the people to come over here?’
Dr Anderson, 57, who worked and lived in Staten Island, prescribed close to one million pills, prosecutors say.
‘Anderson often saw those purported patients, some of whom displayed visible signs of drug addiction, without appointments, in the middle of the night – sometimes at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning – and required that they pay hundreds of dollars in cash for each prescription,’ read court documents.
Prosecutors also allege that street dealer Arthur Grande acquired a large amount of pills from Dr Anderson and sold them illegally. Grande has also been charged.
Dr Pietropinto, 80, a psychiatrist who operated out of an office on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, allegedly prescribed thousands of oxycodone pills that led to at least one overdose death.
District attorneys say Dr Pietropinto advised his patients to not fill their prescriptions at large chain pharmacies because pharmacists would then call him and ask why he was writing prescriptions for large amounts of oxycodone.
Court documents reveal that he prescribed more than 12,000 pills for just one patient between October 2013 and May 2018.
Court documents state that Dr Carl Anderson (pictured) allegedly prescribed pills without appointments, and saw patients n the middle of the night, requiring them to pay hundreds of dollars in cash per prescription
In return for prescribing oxycodone pills, Dr Nadem Sayegh (pictured) allegdly received more than $100,000 in cash as well as ‘expensive dinners, high-end whisky, cruises, and all-expense-paid trips’
The psychiatrist charged between $50 and $100 in cash, yet filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
Dr Sayegh, 64, an endocrinologist who had offices in the Bronx and Westchester, allegedly distributed more than 50,000 oxycodone pills.
District attorneys say for one patient, Dr Sayegh would issue oxycodone prescriptions in his name, variations of his name, family members’ names, and other names.
In return, he received more than $100,000 in cash as well as ‘expensive dinners, high-end whisky, cruises, and all-expense-paid trips,’ court documents state.
Dr Nkanga, 65, who also worked on Staten Island, allegedly prescribed 500,000 oxycodone pills, sometimes without conducting any physical examination or even seeing them in person.
Prosecutors say he prescribed more 100 oxycodone pills per patient per month on average.
In July 2018 he reduced this number after he told one patient he was ‘very worried’ that he was being watched by law enforcement.
Also arrested was White Plains pharmacist Mark Klein, 47, who allegedly filled prescriptions for close to 10,000 oxycodone pills.
In return, he received cash payments, free dinners and, in one instance, an all-expenses-paid vacation to Atlantic City.
Prosecutors say that all the men charged, if convicted, have maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.