BUFFALO – A federal grand jury has handed down a 166-count indictment against a Buffalo area doctor on charges of illegally distributing controlled substance.
Dr. Eugene Gosy, 56, of Clarence, N.Y., was indicted on multiple charges, according to Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr.
Among the indictments are 144 counts of distributing and dispensing controlled substances other than for a legitimate medical purpose and not within the usual course of professional practices.
Gosy was also hit with one count of unlawfully conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances for other than legitimate medical purposes and not in the course of professional practice, resulting in the death of six of his patients.
Further, he faces three counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances, including fentanyl, oxycodone, and tapentadol, each resulting in the death of a patient, two counts of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and 16 counts of healthcare fraud.
The counts alleging unlawful controlled substance distributions resulting in death carry a mandatory minimum term of 20 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine or both. The remaining drug distribution counts carry maximum penalties, which, depending on the substance involved, range from one to 20 years imprisonment. While the maximum penalties for the healthcare fraud charges, vary between 10 years to life imprisonment.
“Today’s superseding indictment represents the first time that a physician in the Western District of New York has been alleged to be criminally responsible for unlawfully prescribing drugs which resulted in the death of a patient,” Kennedy said. “Sadly, the superseding indictment alleges that more than one patient succumbed to the inadequate and unlawful treatment they received at the hands of Dr. Gosy and those who worked for him. While today’s indictment does not represent a panacea, it does provide a powerful antidote directed at one of the root causes of the opioid epidemic.”
The indictment alleges that in carrying out the conspiracy, Gosy and his employees at the Gosy Center, which included nurse practitioners and physician assistants working under Gosy’s direction issued more prescriptions for controlled substances annually than any other prescriber or prescribing entity in New York State, including hospitals.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that Gosy and his employees were prescribing controlled substances without conducting a physical examination or after conducting only a limited, inadequate physical examination; were prescribing controlled substances in ways that were likely to cause, and did cause, dependence and addiction, and that contributed to existing addictions and issuing prescriptions for controlled substances in dosages or in combinations dangerous to the health and safety of the patient.
In addition, officials said Gosy and his staff issued prescriptions for controlled substances despite indications that patients were abusing and misusing the prescribed controlled substances, prescribed controlled substances without monitoring or using objective treatment information, recommended a course of treatment, including the prescription of controlled substances, which caused patients to become so addicted to opioid drugs that some eventually utilized heroin and other street drugs to satisfy their addiction and issued prescriptions for controlled substances to patients despite knowing those patients had overdosed, or had otherwise been hospitalized for conditions relating to misuse of controlled substances.
Gosy and staff also, according to the indictments, continued to prescribe controlled substances in the same manner, and did not adapt practices to prevent additional deaths and overdoses, despite having notice that treatment they were following had resulted in obvious drug-seeking behavior and addiction; numerous patient overdoses; and patient deaths. Gosy is also alleged to signing death certificates, in the absence of an autopsy or medical examination, for deceased patients to whom Gosy or his employees had prescribed controlled substances despite aberrant behaviors.
Gosy failed, according to the indictment, to recommend a course of treatment, including prescribing controlled substances, which caused the death of at least six individuals, and contributed to the deaths of others, utilizing a telephonic patient prescription renewal process, whereby patients could obtain prescriptions for Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances that were prepared by persons who were not medically trained and issued by mid-level providers who had inadequate knowledge about the prescription and the patient, and without adequate review of the prescription and the patient’s chart and that Gosy pre-signed blank prescriptions and permitted others to fill out the remaining information for the prescription, when he would leave the Buffalo area for extended periods.
Gosy allegedly failed to properly review and sign his own patient file notes, arranged for other, non-medical, personnel to sign patient file notes to make it look as if he had reviewed them and failed to properly review patient files. Further, Gosy allegedly failed to review forms from other providers and did not obtain complete medical histories, including current health issues.
In addition, Gosy’s mid-level physicians assistants and nurse practitoners were given money and gifts as bonuses for seeing and treating the maximum patient level while allegedly threatening pay cuts for those not reaching the desired levels, officials said. They also allegedly were given credit toward bonuses for performing or providing more lucrative procedures.
Gosy also allegedly established a “script line” to offer hundreds of daily prescriptions to patients, many of whom they had never seen. Also, officials said the line was operated by people with no medical training or certification.
Calling Gosy one of the largest opioid traffickers in New York State, DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James Hunt said, “At the height of diverted prescription drug abuse, Dr. Gosy’s clinic prescribed more controlled substances than several major New York Hospitals, and is now being charged with causing the death of six individuals. Today’s charges cannot bring back the lives of those who died, but is a message to traffickers and rogue doctors that their actions have irrevocable consequences. The DEA’s highest priority is arresting and dismantling the largest opioid traffickers, Dr. Gosy being one of them.”
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen said, “Gosy did not work to heal all of those who struggled with pain, rather he betrayed his patients’ trust by putting his own personal gain ahead of their health and well-being. The FBI is committed to working with our partners on the front lines of the fight against heath care fraud and opioid addiction.”
The superseding indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Hunt, Special Agent-in- Charge, New York Field Division; the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Western New York Health Care Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Scott Lampert; the Army National Guard – New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, under the direction of Lt. Col. Nicholas Dean; the New York State Department of Financial Services, under the direction of Maria T. Vullo, Acting Superintendent; the New York State Office of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General, under the direction of Inspector General Cathy Leahy Scott; and the New York State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant United States Attorneys Maura K. O’Donnell and Patricia Astorga, who together are prosecuting the case for the United States.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.