U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Mitchell Spivack, 62, former owner of Verree Pharmacy, was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and healthcare fraud.
Spivack was the pharmacist in charge at Verree Pharmacy, 7960 Verree Road, which operated as a small neighborhood pharmacy for more than 30 years.
During that time in business, Spivack and his coconspirators allegedly cultivated Verree’s reputation as an “easy fill” and “no questions asked” pharmacy for oxycodone and other dangerous and addictive opioid drugs. By 2016, Verree was the largest purchaser of oxycodone among retail pharmacies in the state.
Spivack and his coconspirators are alleged to have filled prescriptions for wholesale quantities of high-dose oxycodone despite obvious alterations to the prescriptions and other red flags indicating that the drugs were not for a legitimate medical purpose. In addition, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Spivack and other employees of Veree submitted entirely fraudulent claims to health care benefit programs for prescription drugs not dispensed. These drugs, the government alleges, were designated in patient profiles as “BBDF,” an acronym for “Bill But Don’t Fill.”
“The defendant is charged with filling prescriptions outside of medical standards for the highly addictive drug oxycodone,” said state Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Diversion of these drugs perpetuates the existing opioid crisis that killed 5,438 Pennsylvanians last year. Pharmacies and medical professionals have a responsibility under the law to dispense these drugs only when appropriate. Our office is committed to continuing to work with our federal partners to hold medical professionals like Mitchell Spivack accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, a special assessment and an order of restitution.
If the public has any information regarding Verree Pharmacy or any other health care fraud allegation, individuals should call 800-HHS-TIPS.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney’s office filed a civil suit against Spivack, his company and employees alleging healthcare fraud and violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Beth Leahy and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Montag, who was specially designated by the AG. The civil case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony D. Scicchitano.