Montco doctor’s ‘pill mill’ traded cash for powerful narcotics, feds say
by Vinny Vella
August 2, 2019
A Plymouth Township psychiatrist accused of operating a “pill mill” now faces federal charges, prosecutors said Friday.
Spiro Y. Kassis, 66, was charged with 14 counts of distributing “dangerous and addictive opioids” that were medically unnecessary, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney William McSwain.
Kassis sold the prescriptions at $200 each to people who would arrange clandestine meetings with him at his offices in East Norriton and Scranton, McSwain said. He often would prescribe “dangerous combinations” of Oxycodone, methadone and buprenorphine to the same person, he said.
The former doctor professed to be an expert in addiction medicine, and had been arrested and charged with similar offenses last spring by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
“The defendant, Spiro Kassis, may have had the title of doctor but he was simply a drug dealer, peddling addiction by using a prescription pad,” Steele said in a statement. “Kassis was selling thousands of prescriptions purely to make money. Instead of being a healer and doing no harm, he was a major contributor to the opioid-heroin-fentanyl epidemic that is killing so many people in our communities.”
The county case, set to go to trial later this year, has been transferred to the federal court system.
In that case, investigators used a confidential source who had been a former patient of the doctor’s, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest. The source, who had been treated by Kassis for an opioid addiction, was able to receive narcotics without being physically examined or required to submit a urine sample, the affidavit said.
Kassis’ attorney, John I. McMahon Jr., did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.