CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio doctor operated a "pill mill" that saw him prescribe painkillers and other drugs to patients without legitimate medical purposes and cause the drug-related deaths of two patients, federal prosecutors in Cleveland said Thursday.
Dr. Martin Escobar, 57, of Youngstown, was charged in a 145-count indictment with unlawful distribution of drugs, maintaining a drug-involved premises, dispensing a controlled substance to someone under age 21 and health care fraud.
A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Escobar’s attorney. Escobar was arrested in November at his home and was freed on bond several days later.
Federal prosecutors have accused Escobar of using false diagnoses to prescribe opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants to patients month after month between 2015 and 2019. Patients continued to receive prescriptions from Escobar despite negative urine screens indicating they were taking the drugs in large doses days before their appointments or were selling them on the black market.
Drugs prescribed by Escobar resulted in patient deaths in 2015 and 2016, prosecutors said. No details about the deaths were provided.
The health care fraud counts are related to billing the government for medically unnecessary prescriptions and urine screens, prosecutors said.