There were just too many customers lined up every day outside this Zerega medical clinic for one local businessman to ignore.
Four years later, Bob Bieder’s suspicions became a major bust of an illegal scheme that allegedly sold prescriptions for $90 million worth of Oxycodone since 2012, and even more before that.
Federal, state, and city law enforcement officials announced the arrest of Dr. Robert Terdiman, Dr. Kevin Lowe and 21 individuals who allegedly took part in the illegal “pill mill” at Astramed Physicians PC, which was originally located on Glebe Avenue in Zerega back in 2010, and then moved to Westchester Avenue near Parkchester and finally to Southern Blvd. before it was shut down last week.
Bieder had informed Senator Jeff Klein’s office of the situation in 2010, and after several inquiries to find out what was going on at that location, Klein finally contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“For years, the physicians at Astramed have illegally sold narcotics prescriptions to individuals who could score up to $30 per pill on the black market,” said Klein.
But he added that the impact of Astramed’s illegal activity “went beyond just the illegal sale of prescriptions.
“Astramed, which moved three separate times in the Bronx before being caught,” said Klein, “fundamentally disrupted the quality of life for residents and small business owners in the surrounding area.”
Bieder said that when he first saw people lined up outside of Astramed, he was alarmed and thought it might have been a unlicensed drug treatment clinic, and was later told that it was a sleep disorder clinic.
Aside from the long lines, he noticed cars that would often pull up with out-of-state plates and people would get out and go inside.
Bieder commended Klein’s office for getting the investigation launched, and then for following up on it even after Astramed moved out of the senator’s district.
“Astramed caused nothing but blight for our community and despite my attempts at notifying others about this issue, Senator Klein was the first person to take my concern to the next level. And he never gave up.”
As president of the 45th Precinct Community Council, Bieder, often encourages others to report activities they know look out of place for their communities.
The arrest and indictment of Terdiman, a licensed internist, was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 5 by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York. In a parallel investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged 21 individuals in connection with the distribution scheme, including the Astramed owner, Lowe.