CHARLESTON, W.Va. — United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced Tuesday an indictment against 12 people associated with a pain management clinic, accusing them of operating a “pill mill.”
The owners, managers and doctors are associated with the Hitech Opioid Pharmacovigilance Expertise Clinic, or HOPE Clinic, which has locations in Beaver, Beckley and Charleston, as well as Wytheville, Virginia.
The 69-count indictment alleges the people operated a “pill mill” by knowingly or unlawfully distributing oxycodone for non-medical use. The clinics are also connected to two deaths.
“Home-grown drug dealers behind the veil of a doctor’s lab coat, a medical degree and prescription pad are every bit as bad as a drug dealer, heroin trafficker from Detroit,” Stuart said.
MORE: Read the indictment.
The indictment states owner James H. Blume Jr. and physician Mark T. Radcliffe agreed the two would work together to contract physicians and supervise clinics. Between November 2010 and July 2015, Blume and Radcliffe opened four clinics with physicians authorized to write prescriptions.
The physicians, according to the indictment, did not provide complete medical examinations to customers before serving them large amounts of oxycodone and similar substances.
“The indictment alleges they knowingly contracted the services of medical professions with no background or specialized training in pain management, including the professionals indicted today,” Stuart said.
Blume and Radcliffe allegedly operated the facilities as “a predominantly cash business,” in which more than 85 percent of payments were made in cash. In-state resident paid at least $275 for an initial appointment and $160 or more for following visits. Out-of-state customers paid at least $330 for the first visit and a minimum of $185 after that.
If convicted on all charges, Blume and Radcliffe would face up to 100 years in federal prison.