Some say that if you do your dirt in the most blatant way possible, it will go unnoticed. That would be the case with doctors profiting off of popular prescription pharmaceuticals. While many use Percocets or promethazine for recreation, there are serious consequences for pill or lean use. Indulging in these drugs builds up a dependence and can eventually be deadly as immunities increase, and more of the drug is needed to get high. In 2009, aspiring paramedic Joey Bartolucci overdosed on Dilaudid pills. Dilaudids, known as “”pharmaceutical heroin,” come from the painkiller, opoid hydromorphone, and is used commonly after surgeries to help patients cope with pain. 81-year-old Dr. Gerald Klein, of the East Coast Pain Clinic in Palm Beach County, FL is on trial now for Batolucci’s death, charged with second-degree murder. He was the deceased’s treating physician that over-prescribed Bartolucci Xanax and 180 mg Dilaudids.
Klein was just one of 33 who went down for the $40 million Wellington Pill Mill operating out of Palm Beach and Broward counties. Overseen by physician Jeff George, the facilities would take $150 per visit to write prescriptions for various powerful medications while trying to fly under the radar of law enforcement. Wellington was one of the largest pill mills operating in the nation, but authorities raided in 2011, arresting Klein, along with George and members of George’s family members. Of the 33 that were knocked, all but five pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The feds got the $40 million, as well as watches, jewelry, homes and more. Viewed as the kingpin, George was forced to pay $4.7 million in restitution and $5.3 million more to Bartolucci’s family, in 2012.
George and Theodore Obermeyer both testified against Klein, on Monday. They did so in exchange for sentences capped at 20 years. George will be serving 15 and half. Klein’s attorneys are running with the story that their client was just acting on orders from on high, with the prescriptions. They claim that he actually decreased patients’ dosages out of concern, in hopes of weening them off the medications.
In total, the pill mill reportedly killed 50 people by way of prescription overdose. All of the doctors put the blame on the deceased. During the civil trial, George in on record saying, “I bought a Lamborghini four years ago. If I wreck it, am I going to hold the Lamborghini dealership responsible?”
Gerald Klein’s trial is expected to last two weeks. Regardless of the outcome, misdiagnoses will still be made to generate more money in the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry.