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Feds Say Montco Doc's Illegal Prescription Killed Its Recipient

By Tony Hanson

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (CBS) -- A 73-year-old Montgomery County physician, already charged at the center of a sweeping, multimillion-dollar, illegal prescription drug operation, has now been charged with a new offense: distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.

Federal prosecutor Michelle Rotella says Dr. Norman Werther of Horsham, who practiced in Willow Grove, knowingly prescribed oxycodone for a person identified only as "N. B.," a person that Werther knew was a drug addict.

"And he gave it to him in such dosages and amounts that the death of N.B. resulted just one day after he filled his last prescription from Dr. Werther.  In other words, in September he filled his prescription and the very next day he was found dead in his apartment, with the empty Dr. Werther prescription next to him," Rotella tells KYW Newsradio.

Rotella says a conviction on this count alone carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years, up to a maximum of life in prison.

Others charged in the case include office staffers, a pharmacist, alleged drug gang leaders and members, and so-called "pseudo" patients.

Of the more than five dozen people who have been charged, most have pleaded guilty.  Werther has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney has declined comment.

(CBS Philly previously indicated incorrectly in this article that Werther sold, rather than prescribed, the drugs.)

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