A 75-year-old nurse practitioner was convicted on Wednesday for running what prosecutors described as a “pill mill” out of a Bronx clinic from which she distributed bogus prescriptions for oxycodone, Xanax and Adderall.
Between June 2019 and June 2020, Purificacion Cristobal prescribed tens of thousands of doses of oxycodone with no medical purpose while describing herself as an “addiction psychiatrist” from her office on Westchester Avenue near St. Paul Avenue.
Oxycodone is highly addictive. Oxycodone and Purdue Pharmaceutical’s brand-name version Oxycontin were made infamous during the U.S. opioid epidemic as one of the most commonly abused opioids in the country.
Cristobal also prescribed Xanax and Adderall, two other drugs sometimes prescribed as medicine and often abused for recreational purposes.
She would often allow patients to take their pick of what they would like prescribed and would never perform examinations as a prerequisite for the illicit prescriptions.
The nurse practitioner accepted cash payments for the prescriptions and encouraged her buyers to recruit others.
In order to avoid detection from law enforcement, she worked with a nearby pharmacist whom she would refer patients to.
“Purificacion Cristobal prescribed powerful medications to patients, some of whom had no medical need for them and were likely selling them, thereby contributing to the flow of highly potent drugs into the black markets of New York,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “We trust medical professionals to responsibly handle potentially harmful drugs, and this Office will not turn a blind eye to those professionals who break that trust.”
A New York federal jury found her guilty of conspiring to distribute oxycodone and distributing oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose.
She faces up to 60 years in prison.