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Pond Lehocky received state approval to open its pharmacy in October 2016.The application stated that no medical practitioners had a proprietary interest in the pharmacy.

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These sorts of doctor- and lawyer-owned pharmacies are largely unknown outside of the local workers’ comp industry and are not fully understood even within legal and medical communities, because the lawyers and physicians behind them have kept a low profile or sought to conceal their ownership. Steven Joffe, chief of the division of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school.The new medicine seemed to work at first, Elliot said, but now it doesn’t do anything. “But it doesn’t last long.” Records show that Workers First has charged more than $1,600 for a 5-ounce bottle of diclofenac.It’s a relatively inexpensive topical solution that can be purchased wholesale for $60 to $70, pharmacists said.The pharmacy then charges employers or their insurance companies for the workers’ pain medicine, sometimes at sky-high prices, records show.An email to doctors, signed by one of the law firm’s founding partners, Sam Pond, outlined the arrangement: “For all patients that you may see with a workers’ compensation claim, referred to you from our office or elsewhere, we ask that you have our pharmacy, Workers First Pharmacy Services, fill the scripts.” Some of the doctors sending patients to Workers First also own a piece of the pharmacy, enabling them to make money from both patient care and the prescriptions.But, in fact, several doctors are part-owners, the Inquirer and Daily News have learned.

It operates on Lancaster Avenue in Haverford, behind a windowless door with a peephole and a small, taped-up paper sign that reads “Workers First.” Pond said Workers First Pharmacy follows all state ethics rules while quickly getting medications to injured clients even when employers and their insurance agencies refuse or are slow to approve treatment.

On its website, Pond Lehocky is vague about its relationship to Workers First, saying it is “partnering” with the pharmacy to help clients get the best pharmaceutical care.

Clients who click through to the pharmacy’s website are told: “Focus on your recovery.

“I would be dead and not sitting here right now if it wasn’t for Pond Lehocky,” Elliot says in a testimonial video on the firm’s website.

This spring, Elliot said, he was seeking a new doctor and his lawyer at Pond Lehocky directed him to Relievus, a network of pain-management clinics.

He has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters.