Berks DA: Doctor over-prescribed opioid pills to patients

 

A Schuylkill County man who practices medicine in Berks County stands accused of over-prescribing "dangerous opioid medication" to his patients.

In a news conference streamed live on WFMZ.com, Berks County District Attorney John Adams announced criminal charges Thursday against Dr. Robert W. Schorschinsky.

Adams said his office, along with the Pennsylvania attorney general, began their investigation of Schorschinsky's practice -- Penn Family Medicine in Exeter Township -- in late 2017.

"This practice was a pill-mill in our community, and I am pleased today that we have taken the steps to stop this flood of opioid medication into our community," Adams said.

The probe led to the arrest of two of Schorschinsky's employees -- Heather Bailey and Stacey Delvalle, along with Delvalle's husband, Jorge Soler Jr. -- on January 8, 2019, Adams said.

The continuing investigation, Adams said, revealed that Schorschinsky's actions helped those three suspects in their scheme to illegally obtain at least 6,218 doses of opioid pills for street sales, with an estimated value of approximately $125,000.

"Despite knowing full well the severity of this crisis and despite his responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of his patients, the defendant is charged with overprescribing opioids and aiding a massive diversion scheme," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shaprio.

Schorschinsky's aid came in the form of his "intentional and reckless prescribing practices," including a pattern of over-prescribing opioid medication and signing prescriptions that were illegally used by the group to obtain opioid pills from pharmacies in Berks County, Adams said.

"The pharmacies understand that they have a duty, and we need to praise the work of those pharmacies for taking a good close look," Adams said.

During the course of the investigation, Adams said his detectives seized records from Schorschinsky's practice that showed his patients being prescribed 288% to 800% higher doses of controlled substances than the maximum recommended limits set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

"The opioid, heroin, and fentanyl epidemic is devastating Pennsylvania communities and taking 12 Pennsylvanian lives per day," Shapiro said. "We know that a root cause of addiction is over-prescribing -- 4 out of every 5 heroin users start with prescription drugs."

Schorschinsky, 61, of Auburn, Schuylkill County, surrendered to Berks County detectives on 20 counts of prescribing controlled substances outside accepted treatment principles and three counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud or subterfuge. He was freed on $250,000 bail.