Cecilia DowdMay 2, 2018, 6:57 pmMay 3, 2018, 2:12 pm

Merrick doctor charged in deadly opioid overdoses testifies

Federal officials say the Michael Belfiore ‘used his prescription writing privileges to pad his bank account’

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CENTRAL ISLIP — The trial continues for a Merrick-based doctor, Michael Belfiore, who is charged in connection with the oxycodone overdose deaths of two men. Belfiore testified Wednesday that over his 25-year career he's likely seen 45,000 patients.

"I gave pain medication to people in pain," he said.

The feds, however, tell a very different story.

Earlier in the trial, prosecutors showed jurors a video that was taken when an undercover detective went to Belfiore and ultimately received a prescription for oxycodone despite, as he testified, giving the doctor “vague answers” — a test of sorts to see if the doctor would give him the prescription, which he did.

In 2014, the government said that Belfiore gave the undercover detective six prescriptions over a 6-month period in exchange for thousands of dollars, prosecutors allege.

On Wednesday, when asked by his attorney about the cost of the drugs, he testified it to be "the average amount the doctors in my area were charging." Area, meaning geographic area, those places in and around Merrick.

Under questioning about his treatment of the undercover detective, the doctor said, "It's easy to play armchair quarterback," in a case like this.

Each time Dr. Belfiore answered a question, he spoke directly to jurors throughout the afternoon.

At the time of his arrest, the United States attorney said in a statement that he "used his prescription writing privileges to pad his bank account."

Belfiore, at one point, testified that oxycodone is not his "first line," saying, "It can be an ugly medication."

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