- (Photo: AP Images / Mel Evans, file)
A Philadelphia, Pa., doctor previously charged with committing at least seven post-birth abortions at what federal authorities describe as a “baby charnel house” has now also been accused of writing thousands of illegal prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs.
Kermit Gosnell had run a Family and Women’s Medical Society (WMS) clinic for decades until federal agents uncovered a “house of horrors” during a raid in Feb. 2010.
Agents allegedly found fetal body parts in jars, bloodstains on equipment and floors and a damning trail of illegal prescriptions and evidence of late-term abortions.
Gosnell may face the death penalty for the seven post-birth abortions allegedly conducted by snipping the babies’ spinal cords with scissors and at least one mother’s death caused by ineptitude and unsafe conditions.
The drug ring had long been suspected, but is now confirmed, according to federal authorities.
From June 2008 until Feb. 2010, Gosnell and nine other defendants – employees at the clinic – allegedly provided drug seekers with prescriptions for pills like Xanax, OxyContin and Percocet as well as syrups containing Codeine, according to the report.
The U.S. Department of Justice report, released Tuesday, outlines the method Gosnell and his staff allegedly employed to supply the drugs.
“[Customers], often referred to as drug ‘seekers,’ met with Gosnell briefly for a cursory exam or no exam, paid him a fee, and then were given prescriptions for controlled substances without there being any legitimate medical purpose for the prescriptions,” according to the report.
Gosnell allegedly wrote some prescriptions for patients without having seen them, only getting their name and “order” from staff members.
The report also claims that patients were given multiple prescriptions under multiple names.
After initially charging $115 per prescription at the outset of the operation, Gosnell increased the price to $150 after seeing how lucrative the operation was, investigators assert.
The report found that Gosnell and 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.”
In Jan. 2010, at the height of the operation, Gosnell wrote 2,300 prescriptions that were filled at pharmacies.
Gosnell plans to fight the charges but seven of the other nine defendants – including Gosnell’s wife, who worked at the clinic – have already pleaded guilty to federal charges.
The 23-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance and distribution of oxycodone in a school zone. The heaviest of the drug-related charges carries a 40-year jail sentence.
An earlier grand jury report outlining the abortion work at the clinic called the lack of oversight a “complete regulatory collapse.”
“Pennsylvania is not a Third World country,” the report said. “There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago.”