NY radiologist gets jail time in drug abuse case

A radiologist from western New York state received a two-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay restitution for illegally prescribing opioids, according to published reports.

Dr. Albert Cowie received a relatively light sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo on January 31, according to an article by WBFO News. He could have received up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Cowie was arrested in 2015 on charges that he distributed prescription drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone to several acquaintances between 2010 and 2014. The complaint filed in the case charged that he wrote 280 prescriptions for the drugs to acquaintances he knew; the individuals used some of the drugs but returned some to Cowie, allegedly for his own use. Cowie also filed for insurance reimbursement for the prescriptions.

In his sentencing hearing, Cowie told Vilardo that he has kicked his addiction to pain pills and sought counseling. He has also been working with the Medical Society of the State of New York to "tell his story to others as a cautionary tale," according to the article.

In addition to the 24-month prison sentence, Cowie must pay restitution totaling nearly $24,000 to healthcare payors he defrauded by filing reimbursement claims for the drugs. The judge waived any additional fines by noting Cowie's poor financial prospects and the fact that he is a caregiver to a young child, the article noted.

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