UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — Dr. Martin Tesher, 81, advertised house calls and called himself an “old-fashioned, family physician,” but the Drug Enforcement Administration said he was really a drug dealer in disguise.
The elderly doctor was busted at his Upper East Side office Monday morning. He was escorted out of the East 68th Street brownstone by DEA agents before he started his work day.
The U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn later accused him of writing thousands of illegal prescriptions for highly-addictive painkillers, charging patients $500 in cash for every scrip.
Prosecutors said in a criminal complaint that Dr. Tesher sold more than 14,000 prescriptions between 2012 and January 2017, most of them for the potent Oxycodone.
That means 2.2 million pills were put on the streets.
Outside the brownstone Monday, some East 68th Street residents told PIX11 they’d noticed people who didn’t quite fit in with the neighborhood showing up at the doctor’s office. They saw they saw lots of men in construction boots and sunglasses.
“There’d be weird people coming here in the morning,” one woman said.
The feds said Dr. Tesher knew that some of his patients were addicted to oxycodone or abusing heroin, but he continued to prescribe the drug to them regardless.
In one case, on a patient’s first visit, Tesher is accused of prescribing the patient 15 oxycodone pills a day, even without verification that the person actually had an injury.
Painkillers have fueled a national opioid epidemic, with overdoses now killing more people annually than car crashes.
When states started monitoring prescription painkillers in 2011, some corrupt doctors discovered a way to make quick cash.
“Dr. Tesher acted no differently than a multi-million dollar heroin ring, distributing more than $20 million dollars worth of opioids," said New York DEA Director James Hunt.