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Allegheny

2nd defendant pleads guilty in Bridgeville clinic painkiller scheme

Natasha Lindstrom
| Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, 8:42 p.m.
This Aug. 29, 2018 photo shows an arrangement of prescription Oxycodone pills in New York. Figures from a 2017 survey released on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, show fewer people used heroin for the first time compared to the previous year, and fewer Americans misusing or addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
This Aug. 29, 2018 photo shows an arrangement of prescription Oxycodone pills in New York. Figures from a 2017 survey released on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, show fewer people used heroin for the first time compared to the previous year, and fewer Americans misusing or addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A former doctor at a Suboxone clinic in Bridgeville pleaded guilty to illegally prescribing and dispensing prescription painkillers and other drugs, federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh said Tuesday.

Dr. Mark Foster, 71, a Pine resident and former medical director at the South Hills clinic Cherry Way, was convicted on three counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said. Foster could face a maximum sentence of up to 50 years in prison, a fine up to $2.5 million or both.

He is the second person to plead guilty in the prescription drug scheme.

Terri C. Brown, 53, of Boswell, former owner of Cherry Way, was convicted on five counts of drug and health fraud charges last month. Brown could face a maximum sentence of up to 80 years in prison and a fine up to $4 million.

According to prosecutors, the pair of conspirators unlawfully wrote prescriptions for and dispensed Adderall, Percocet and Suboxone, which can reduce the withdrawal symptoms experienced by those battling addiction to heroin and other opiates.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer scheduled Foster’s sentencing for March 19.

Brown is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 8.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Cessar prosecuted both cases with help from the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, a multi-agency effort to combat the prescription opioid epidemic.

Agencies that assisted in the investigation included the FBI, U.S. Health and Human Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Department of Veterans Affairs, Food and Drug Administration, Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing and the state Attorney General’s office.

RELATED: Bridgeville clinic operator pleads guilty to prescription drug scheme

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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