A Rockville physician has been indicted on federal charges of running a “pill mill” that improperly provided medication to patients, including one case in which a person died from using methadone he provided.
Silviu Ziscovici, 59, faces 29 counts, including conspiracy to distribute and distribution of controlled dangerous substances, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance resulting in death and money laundering, according to a news release Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland.
He had an initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Wednesday afternoon and remains in custody pending a hearing Friday.
No defense attorney was listed in online records Thursday and efforts to contact Ziscovici were not successful.
According to the release, Ziscovici ran a pain management practice out of his Rockville office and was authorized to prescribe medicine to patients.
From at least July 2009 until June 22, 2010, Ziscovici ran a “pill mill” that prescribed substances including oxycodone, methadone, morphine and alprazolam to people without properly examining them, according to prosecutors.
The indictment claims Ziscovici provided prescriptions to people for a fee without properly determining if there was a medical need.
He allegedly prescribed inappropriate combinations of drugs, increased patients’ dosages and treated a large number of patients who had traveled long distances to get the drugs.
Prosecutors said an unnamed co-conspirator in Tennessee transported multiple people from Tennessee to Ziscovici’s office to get prescriptions.
In one case, on Feb. 2, 2010, Ziscovici allegedly caused methadone to be provided to a patient, who died from using the drug.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of at least $651,500 that can be traced to his alleged drug distribution, as well as cash, coins and jewelry taken from Ziscovici’s bank accounts, safe deposit boxes and his home.
Prosecutors allege that Ziscovici bought a vehicle using a $13,984 check from his business checking account.
The Gazette previously reported that Ziscovici’s Maryland medical license was suspended in December 2010, in part because 15 of his patients died from drug overdoses.
It was not immediately clear when or if his license was reinstated.
An attorney who represented Ziscovici in the 2010 case could not be reached for comment Thursday.
According to information in a 2010 order related to the license suspension, Ziscovici had been seeing about 35 patients a day from 13 states, including Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.