Dr. Norman Werther, of Fort Washington, formerly of Horsham, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and more than 300 counts stemming from his alleged pill mill operation.
A federal jury convicted Werther on June 11 of 184 counts of illegally distributing oxycodone, 116 counts of money laundering, six counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises.Werther was central to an illegal prescription drug ring spanning February 2009 to August 2011, according to authorities. Through the operation, Werther is said to have helped distribute more than 700,000 pills containing oxycodone to drug dealers for sale on the street.
The drug ring, which authorities said netted $5 million through illegal prescriptions, may have contributed to at least one death, according to authorities, who charged Werther in November 2012 in connection with a man's overdose death.
In September 2010, Werther knowingly dispensed approximately 150 pills containing 30 milligrams each of oxycodone, and 30 pills containing 15 milligrams each of oxycodone, to Nathaniel Backes for no legitimate medical purpose and Backes’ death resulted from the use of that substance, according to authorities.
“Instead of using his medical license to help people, Dr. Werther chose to generate tremendous profits by putting hundreds of thousands of pills on the street illegally,” said First Assistant US Attorney Louis Lappen in a press release. “In one case, as the jury found, Dr. Werther’s criminal enterprise and blatant disregard for the safety of the community caused the death of a patient whom Dr. Werther knew had a history of drug addiction."Werther, who had practiced at 301 Davisville Road in Willow Grove, was said to have charged pseudo patients a $150 office fee in exchange for prescriptions for patients to obtain oxycodone-based drugs without there being a legitimate medical purpose.
The “patients” were then driven to various pharmacies, including Northeast Pharmacy, to have their prescriptions filled. Drugs were then turned over to drug dealers so their organizations could sell the narcotics to dealers who resold the drugs on the street.