Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

W.Va. Jury Acquits 2 Allegheny County Doctors Accused of Doling out Drugs for Cash

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

W.Va. Jury Acquits 2 Allegheny County Doctors Accused of Doling out Drugs for Cash

Article excerpt

Two Allegheny County doctors indicted last year on charges of doling out Suboxone to addicts for cash have been acquitted by a West Virginia jury.

Dr. Krishan Aggarwal, 74, of Moon, and Dr. Cherian John, 66, of Coraopolis, were found not guilty Thursday in federal court in Wheeling after a nine-day trial.

The two doctors were among five indicted last year as part of an investigation into Redirections Treatment Advocates, an addiction clinic based in Washington, Pa., with offices in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Dr. Aggarwal's wife, Dr. Madhu Aggarwal, was indicted in Pittsburgh along with the owner of Redirections, Jennifer Hess, and the operations manager, Chris Handa.

Dr. Madhu Aggarwal has pleaded guilty, as has Ms. Hess, Mr. Handa and Dr. Michael Bummer of Sewickley.

A fifth doctor, Bharill Parth, is awaiting trial in West Virginia.

All of the doctors were contract employees at Redirections. The practice employed a total of eight doctors at clinics in Washington, Bridgeville and three West Virginia towns.

Federal prosecutors said the doctors conspired with Ms. Hess to issue prescriptions outside the scope of real treatment in exchange for cash.

Dr. Krishan Aggarwal and Dr. John worked at the clinic in Weirton, which is why they were prosecuted in West Virginia.

Their lawyers said they were trying to help addicts and are not the criminals the Justice Department made them out to be.

"For the past year, Dr. John has been fighting these false charges from the government stemming from his treatment of patients who suffered from opioid addiction," Stephen Stallings, his Pittsburgh lawyer, said in a statement. "But Dr. John was always one of the good guys in the war on opioids, as we proved in this trial."

Dr. Krishan Aggarwal's lawyers, Ronald Chapman II, of Detroit, and Michael Nogay, of Weirton, said witnesses told the jury that the doctor helped them recover.

"Patient after patient took the stand and told the sad story of their addiction and the positive outcomes they received through treatment from Dr. …

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