Merrick doctor pleads not guilty in overdoses of 2 patients

Posted: Updated:
CENTRAL ISLIP -

A Merrick doctor pleaded not guilty today to charges that he illegally prescribed painkillers that led to the overdose deaths of two patients.

Dr. Michael Belfiore is accused of illegally prescribing oxycodone back in 2013. He calls the charges a witch hunt.

“It makes no sense to me, this is a nightmare,” he says. “I didn't cause the death of anybody. An overdose - if they would have followed the medication as directed - they would still be here today. Overdoses are a direct violation of what is written on the prescription.”

Belfiore was originally charged with illegally distributing prescriptions for painkillers. Prosecutors say he sold prescriptions for profit and wrote out thousands of them. A judge dismissed the initial indictment a few weeks ago on a technicality, saying court documents failed to say there was no reason for Belfiore to prescribe the drug. Prosecutors refiled the case, saying Belfiore wrote prescriptions to patients who didn't need them.

Prosecutors also added the charges of causing the overdose deaths of two patients. Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, who has been on the front lines battling opioid addiction, says that charge may be hard to prove.

“Ultimately someone would look at this and say ‘but the patient is the one who makes the ultimate decision to put that drug into their body,’ so I think connecting the dots is never an easy thing in these kind of cases,” says Reynolds.

Belfiore didn’t hold back when he spoke outside court.

“This is the part where I really get inflamed,” he said. “And I really get angry because how are we supposed to practice? We can’t trust our patients anymore, we can’t trust our pharmacist. We can’t trust the drug reps and, most of all, I can’t trust the government.”
 

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Dog Day Fridays for Jan. 19

    Dog Day Fridays for Jan. 19

    Friday, January 19 2018 9:44 AM EST2018-01-19 14:44:54 GMT
    Belle is approximately 1 year old. This sheppard mix is very sweet, playful, lovable and loves treats. She's good with dogs.Belle is approximately 1 year old. This sheppard mix is very sweet, playful, lovable and loves treats. She's good with dogs.

    This week's dogs were up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter's phone number is (516) 462-9454. They can also be contacted via email - ruffhouserescue@gmail.com.

    This week's dogs were up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter's phone number is (516) 462-9454. They can also be contacted via email - ruffhouserescue@gmail.com.

  • President Trump's first year in office

    President Trump's first year in office

    President Trump's first year in officePresident Trump's first year in office

    Here's a look at President Trump's first year in office.

    Here's a look at President Trump's first year in office.

  • #LIWinterShots

    #LIWinterShots

    News 12 Long Island wants to see your #LIWinterShots all season long!

    News 12 Long Island wants to see your #LIWinterShots all season long!

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."