Delaware County Pharmacy and Pharmacist-Owner Agree to Pay $750,000 and Never Distribute Controlled Substances Again to Resolve Civil Sex-for-Pills Program Allegations | USAO-EDPA
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that the United States has filed a civil lawsuit against Murray-Overhill Pharmacy, Inc., located in Media, PA, and its co-owner pharmacist Martin Brian, alleging practice of illegal activities for years. dispensing and distributing opioids and other controlled substances as part of a sex for pills program. At the same time the civil lawsuit was filed, the United States also filed a proposed consent judgment that, subject to court approval, would resolve the lawsuit. The consent judgment would compel Murray-Overhill Pharmacy and Brian to pay $750,000 in civil penalties under the Controlled Substances Act and permanently bar them from dispensing controlled substances or obtaining another controlled substance registration at the future.
In the civil complaint, the United States alleged that Murray-Overhill Pharmacy, Inc., through its pharmacist and co-owner Martin Brian, exploited his access to controlled substances and engaged in a pill scheme. against sex with multiple people. The United States alleged that police arrived at the back of the pharmacy due to a report of an unconscious man and woman in a car, which contained drug paraphernalia. Complaint alleges another woman came out of the back of the pharmacy followed by Brian, with the woman and Brian initially claiming she came to the pharmacy in Maryland – on a Sunday when the pharmacy was closed – to show pictures of his children. According to the US allegations, further investigation revealed that the woman had received oxycodone and alprazolam from Brian for sex acts on several occasions in the previous year, without any legitimate prescription.
The complaint also alleges that Brian and Murray-Overhill engaged in a similar sex pill scheme with another woman. Brian allegedly gave the woman bottles of Murray-Overhill oxycodone and alprazolam several times a week without a prescription in exchange for sex. The complaint further alleges that additional evidence confirmed the schemes with these individuals, with more than one hundred thousand missing pills of opioids and other controlled substances.
Murray-Overhill has already surrendered its pharmacy registration to the DEA. Murray-Overhill Pharmacy and Brian have further agreed to resolve their civil liability on the terms described in the proposed consent judgment, if accepted by the court. Among other things, Murray-Overhill and Brian would pay $750,000 in civil penalties under the Controlled Substances Act. The proposed resolution would also permanently bar Brian from distributing or dispensing controlled substances in the future and prevent Murray-Overhill Pharmacy from applying for a new controlled substance registration with the DEA.
The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office previously filed criminal charges against Brian for the same behavior.
“This case illustrates that the opioid epidemic continues to harm our communities,” U.S. Attorney Romero said. “This Office will never allow pharmacies and pharmacists, who held positions of trust, to profit from their access to controlled substances at the expense of those in our communities dependent on controlled substances.”
“The allegations against Brian that he repeatedly distributed strong painkillers and other controlled substances in exchange for sex are disgusting and demonstrate Brian’s complete disregard for his legal and ethical responsibilities as a pharmacist,” said said Thomas Hodnett, Special Agent in Charge of Drug Enforcement. Philadelphia Field Division of Administration (DEA). “The DEA, together with its partners such as the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, the Media Borough Police Department, and the Pennsylvania Department of State, will aggressively pursue rogue pharmacists like Brian who are responsible for contributing to the ‘opioid epidemic.’
“This case hits very close to home, involving a pharmacy just a block from the courthouse. While the 81-year-old pharmacist maintained a facade of respectability, trading drugs for sex, he was no better than a dealer selling drugs on a street corner. The public needs to understand that the law enforcement community is committed to prosecuting dealers, whoever they are and wherever we can find them,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.
The case is being investigated by the Philadelphia Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, the Media Borough Police Department, and the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigations. from the Pennsylvania State Department. The civil investigation, litigation, and proposed resolution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony D. Scicchitano and prosecutor Dawn Wiggins, and was also handled by former Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Koob, with the assistance of Assistant United States Attorney Anthony St.Joseph.
The complaint contains only claims that the United States must prove if the case goes to trial. The proposed consent judgment would resolve any alleged civil liability.