Doc charged with drug, fraud offenses

3/24/05 - A Center City physician yesterday was charged in federal court with trafficking in thousands of Percocet and OxyContin pills, and with a $104,000 health-care fraud.

Dr. Robert A. Smith, 73, who has an office on Locust Street near 15th, has agreed to plead guilty to both charges at a later date.

Smith treats patients for pain management and both drugs are frequently abused. OxyContin has been linked to hundreds of overdose deaths nationwide.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Kurland said Smith is charged with illegally selling nearly 3,500 Percocet pills and more than 2,360 OxyContin pills between October 2003 and June 2004.

It's alleged that he sold the drugs "without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice."

Smith allegedly defrauded several insurers, including Independence Blue Cross, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, HealthNet, Keystone and Americhoice by causing bogus insurance claims for bogus prescriptions to be submitted for some of these same drugs valued at more than $104,000, Kurland said.

Neither Smith nor his attorney, Julia Morrow, could be reached yesterday for comment.

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