Allegheny County Doctor Charged with Illegally Distributing Opioids
Attorney General Josh Shapiro Partners with Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song on investigation & charges against Gibsonia doctor
HARRISBURG – A Pittsburgh-area doctor has been charged with unlawfully distributing controlled substances and conspiracy in a case being jointly investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Andrzej Kazimierz Zielke, 62, a doctor in Gibsonia, Richland Township, was charged in a federal indictment unsealed yesterday with prescribing dangerous Schedule II narcotics – oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine sulfate and methadone – on 13 different occasions without any legitimate medical purpose.
“The illegal diversion of prescription drugs is a growing problem in Pennsylvania, and it’s fueling the opioid epidemic ravaging families across our Commonwealth,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Our arrests for illegally diverting narcotics have increased 50 percent over the last year. I’m pleased our office is partnering with Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song on this important case. Strong law enforcement collaboration is critically important in fighting this epidemic.”
The 14-count indictment alleges that Zielke is a doctor who owned and operated Medical Frontiers, a holistic pain management practice, in Gibsonia. The indictment alleges that Dr. Zielke engaged in a pattern of illegally prescribing opioid painkillers to patients with no legitimate medical purpose and without examination, evaluation or testing.
Agents began investigating his practice based on information they received that Dr. Zielke was writing a large number of oxycodone prescriptions for people living in the McKeesport area, and some of these pills were being obtained by a drug dealer.
According to accounts of former employees and patients, Dr. Zielke charged approximately $250 cash for office visits and many of his patients traveled long distances to see him.
On October 11th, the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine issued a Temporary Suspension of Dr. Zielke’s license to practice medicine and surgery.
The law provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, or both, for each count of the indictment.
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of Attorney General Shapiro worked closely on this investigation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the DEA, other federal agencies, and the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation. A prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office is being specially designated as an assistant U.S. Attorney for this case and will be part of the prosecution team.
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