Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctor in Appalachian pill mill case is sentenced to 40 years in prison

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 07 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5904
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

A doctor accused of running a “pill mill” has been sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment by a federal court in Virginia.

Joel Smithers, 36, was convicted of 859 counts of illegally distributing opioids, one count of possession with the intent to illegally distribute, and one count of maintaining a place for that purpose.

The jury also found that oxycodone and oxymorphone that Smithers prescribed to a woman from West Virginia caused her death.

Smithers prescribed more than 500 000 opioid doses, taking only cash or credit card and refusing to accept insurance, the court heard. He made about $700 000 (£570 000; €640 000) in …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription