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2 UPMC doctors arrested, accused of illegally prescribing pills

Two local doctors were arrested on Friday and charged with prescribing pain medication to patients for money or favors.

Omar Almusa, 45, of Shadyside and Marios Papachristou, 43, of Hampton Township were arraigned Friday morning on charges of felony conspiracy and prohibited acts, and are scheduled for preliminary hearings on March 15.

They were released on their own recognizance, according to court documents.

The pair are radiologists employed by UPMC and are medically licensed in Pennsylvania. Both are listed on the University of Pittsburgh’s website as assistant professors of radiology.

A UPMC spokeswoman released this statement: "The charges against Drs. Almusa and Papachristou were the result of an internal investigation into activities related to their practices. They have been arrested and suspended."

According to a criminal complaint, UPMC police were investigating a complaint that Almusa was prescribing medication to nonpatients for money and/or favors.

A review of Almusa's prescription drug monitoring program revealed the only medication he prescribed from Jan. 1, 2016, to Feb. 26, 2018, was nearly 6,000 hydrocodone pills, to a total of three people, according to the complaint.

Papachristou’s wife was one of those people, and received more than 2,700 of the pills, according to the complaint.


Channel 11 tried to talk with her at her home Friday night, but she was too emotional and declined to comment.

Police reviewed Papachristou’s prescription report and found he had prescribed 3,600 hydrocodone pills over the same time period to two people. One of those patients was a relative of Almusa, and the other was a friend of Almusa, according to the complaint.

Related: Man who died from opioid OD paid dealer's light bill for drugs

According to the police report, investigators caught on to the doctors by searching the state's prescription drug monitoring program.

It was established in 2016 to flag doctors overprescribing pills and patients who "doctor-shop" to get them.