South Hills doctor agrees to pay insurers $700,000 for overprescribing narcotics

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A South Hills physician whose prescriptions flooded the local market with narcotics has agreed to pay two insurers a total of $700,000 as part of his sentence for health care fraud and improper drug distribution, according to court filings today.

Oliver W. Herndon, 40, who moved his office from West Mifflin to McMurray shortly before his April indictment, must pay $490,000 to UPMC for You and $210,000 to Gateway Health Plan, according to a stipulation filed in advance of his sentencing, scheduled for September 24.

The amount represents a compromise. Estimates of the unwarranted bills sent to insurance companies as a result of his prescriptions range from $400,000 to $1 million.

A plea agreement also calls for Dr. Herndon to serve 11 years and three months in prison.

He pleaded guilty in May to charges stemming from improper distribution of 10,800 tablets of oxycodone and 3,600 tablets of oxymorphone, both in powerful 30 milligram doses.

U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab can accept or reject the plea agreement.

Before charges were filed, Dr. Herndon's prescriptions were banned by 87 pharmacies that questioned his practices.

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Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542.


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