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Originally published July 22 2008

Pill-Pushing Doctor Allegedly Kills 56 Patients with Prescription Drug Overdoses

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A judge has denied bail for a doctor and his wife who are accused of running an illegal pharmacy out of their medical practice, supplying drugs that led to the deaths of 56 people from accidental overdoses.

Dr. Stephen J. Schneider and his wife Linda K. Schneider, a nurse, have been charged in federal court with conspiracy, unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, health care fraud, illegal monetary transactions and money laundering. Prosecutors allege that the two conspired to illegally write and fill prescriptions for patients of the clinic where they worked. The drugs they prescribed led directly to the deaths of four patients and were involved in the deaths of 52 others, prosecutors said.

Neither defendant has been charged with actually killing any patients.

According to Linda Schneider's sister Pat Hatcher, the charges against the defendants are false. Hatcher says that five different doctors practice out of the same clinic, and that some of the patients named in the federal indictment were not even Dr. Schneider's. His name appears on their prescriptions, she said, due to the way insurance companies keep records.

Upon denying the Schneiders bail, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Bostwick said that the two posed a danger to the community.

"I do not see conditions I can impose that would adequately protect the community," Bostwick said. Even if Dr. Schneider were prohibited from practicing medicine, Bostwick noted, the court could never enforce that stricture.

Even though Linda Schneider is unable to prescribe medication with her husband in jail, the court also deemed her a danger the community and denied her bail.

Prosecutors say that the couple remains dangerous because they have previously demonstrated defiance of the law. In spite of knowing that they were under investigation since their practice was raided by federal officials in 2005, prosecutors said, the couple continued to practice fraud.

Both defendants have pleaded "not guilty."

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