Pittsburgh rad gets 2-year prison sentence in opioid case

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A federal judge in Pennsylvania has sentenced a radiologist to two years in prison followed by three years of probation for healthcare fraud and illegally distributing opioids.

Dr. Marios Papachristou, formerly of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), pleaded guilty to the charges in a prior hearing and asked for leniency because he limited the Vicodin prescriptions to himself and colleague Dr. Omar Almusa for personal use.

The radiologists obtained 120 pills per prescription and billed the expenses to UPMC Health Plan. Almusa was indicted along with Papachristou in March 2018 and currently awaits sentencing.

Judge Arthur Schwab of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania rejected Papachristou's plea to avoid jail, referring to the physicians' conduct as a "calculated plan" to obtain drugs and a "crime," not a mistake, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Schwab also stripped Papachristou of his medical license and charged him with a $15,000 fine.

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