BUFFALO — A New York doctor accused of contributing the overdose deaths of six patients by improperly prescribing painkillers over a 10-year period pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felonies.
Dr. Eugene Gosy’s suburban Buffalo pain management practice was among the largest in the state at the time of his 2016 federal indictment.
In an agreement with prosecutors Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to charges of health care fraud and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in exchange for a prison sentence of 6 1/2 years.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said Gosy failed to change the way he prescribed addictive opioids, even amid a growing recognition in recent years of their danger. As his practice grew beyond what he could handle, the prosecutor said, Gosy failed to follow up with patients who displayed warning signs of abuse and prescribed drugs without examining patients.
“He probably started out with good intentions as a physician, but at some point he made a conscious decision where he had to cut corners in his practice in order to be able to maintain the number of patients and the income flow that he wanted,” Kennedy said at a news conference.
Defense attorney Joel Daniels said Gosy accepted the plea deal to avoid potentially more serious consequences had he been found guilty of charges related to patient deaths. The indictment contained multiple counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, resulting in death.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 21.