Ex-UPMC radiologist sentenced to 2 years in prison for illegal prescribing

A former UPMC physician will serve prison time for writing illegal prescriptions for Vicodin, a federal judge said Dec. 13, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Marios Papachristou, MD, wrote prescriptions to friends and family for Vicodin and then diverted them for personal use and to give to fellow UPMC physician Omar Almusa, MD. Dr. Almusa also wrote illegal prescriptions for Vicodin. Both physicians pleaded guilty to their charges.

The physicians obtained 120 pills per prescription. Dr. Papachristou's wife, Sara Papachristou, filled the prescriptions at a pharmacy. UPMC Health Plan was billed for the drugs.

In his plea, Dr. Papachristou said he wrote the illegal prescriptions due to a Vicodin addiction after a kidney infection 12 years ago, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab said the act was a "calculated plan by very smart people" and not a "'mistake,'" but a "crime."

The judge sentenced Dr. Papachristou to two years in prison and ordered him to pay a $15,000 fine. He also lost his medical license. Dr. Almusa is awaiting sentencing.

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