A Rhode Island doctor was sentenced to serve 51 months of prison time in a federal facility and was also ordered to pay $754,736.48 in restitution to Medicare. The sentence is connected prescription of an opioid medication.
The medication is from Arizona company Insys Therapeutics and Subsys. The prescription is an under-the-tongue spray used in opioid tolerant patients who are battling cancer or otherwise experience severe pain. A 30-day supply of the drug can range in cost from $2,000 to $16,000. Medicare will often reimburse for a portion of this cost.
Prosecutors in the case claim the physician “bullied patients” into taking the medication. In one instance, a patient stated the doctor told him to “stop crying” and “acting like a child” when the patient complained about side effects associated with the medication. In exchange, the prosecution argued the physician received $188,000 in kickbacks from the manufacturer of the opioid drug.
Two patients reportedly suffered from overdoses, but the prosecutor could not clearly connect the overdose to the doctor’s prescription. Throughout the case, the 63 year-old doctor repeatedly stated he was attempting to help his patients.
This case provides an example of the harsh penalties that can accompany these types of accusations. As such, it is important that those who believe they are under investigation for similar offenses take action. An attorney experienced in Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law matters can provide aggressive and effective legal representation through this process. An attorney can help the accused avoid criminal prosecution and negotiate with federal regulators on your behalf.