By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former Abington physician who ran a “pill mill” tied to an epidemic of prescription drug abuse and at least one death will now pay a severe price for his crimes.

At age 73, Dr. Norman Werther has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the illegal distribution of the prescription painkiller oxycodone on a mammoth scale (see related story).

Federal prosecutor Nancy Winter says Werther distributed over one million pills (another related story), and made a fortune on the suffering of others.

“He went from making $50,000 a year to making over a million, (and was) on track to making over two million that second year before we shut him down,” she says.

One patient, Nate Backes, went to Werther to try to beat his addiction, but Werther supplied oxycodone when Backes struggled.

“Within 24 hours of receiving his latest prescription of over a hundred — I think it was 180 pills — Nate died,” says Winter (see related story), who adds that Werther continued to run his pill mill without interruption.

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