Surveillance photos of crowd outside Astramed Physicians, PC, in the South Bronx last June, with Dr. Robert Terdiman, center in the white shirt, amongst the crowd. Credit: Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor
A Bronx doctor who allegedly funneled $90 million in pills onto the black market pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
Prosecutors placed Dr. Robert Terdiman at the center of one of the largest pill mills in the northeast, allegedly pouring more than 3 million oxycodone pills into the black market since June 2012.
Earlier this week, federal officials arrested Terdiman and 20 others connected to the ring.
The Yonkers-based doctor is charged with writing some 18,700 prescriptions -- almost exclusively for oxycodone -- to fake patients in nearly two years from the South Bronx-based Astramed Physicians clinic.
Law enforcement officials witnessed the Bronx clinic teeming with crowds so large that they required in-house security, prosecutors said. Undercover agents found that appointments with Terdiman would last minutes, with no physical examination of the patients.
Even when the clinic began testing urine, prosecutors said individuals involved in the ring began selling bottles of urine that would pass tests.
Terdiman would then allegedly prescribe the opioid to patients after charging them between $200 and $300 in money orders made payable to the clinic.
Patients would fill the prescription at various pharmacies, some of which investigators found would reject anything signed by Terdiman, prosecutors said. Other locations would fill those prescriptions, however, including out-of-state pharmacies as far away as Florida.
Terdiman himself would not hand the prescription to the supposed patients, often leaving the job to the clinic's security guards. Nonetheless, authorities report that Terdiman's pay would go up the more oxycodone was prescribed.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara compared the world of prescription drug trafficking to the "old-school trafficking in narcotics like heroin, cocaine and crack."
"This is poison by prescription, and the volume and money allegedly involved would make hardened illegal drug traffickers envious," he said in a statement.