Tuesday, October 20, 2020

NY doctor convicted for taking bribes to prescribe powerful painkiller Subsys

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A New York doctor has been convicted of taking bribes to prescribe a painkiller up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

In 2014 Gordon Freedman, 59, wrote the fourth-highest number of prescriptions for a fentanyl spray, Subsys.

US attorney Geoffrey Berman said he took bribes from the company that manufactured the drug, Insys Therapeutics.

Prosecutors said Freedman, who owned a private pain management office in Manhattan, took $308,600 (£235,000) in speaker fees for events where other healthcare practitioners were supposed to be informed about Subsys.

But the events were mainly social affairs where no educational presentations happened, they added.

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Freedman’s conviction occurred in a case that resulted in guilty pleas by four other prominent Manhattan doctors, Mr Berman said.

They are said to have worked for Insys’ “speakers bureau” for four years, beginning in August 2012.

A jury at a Manhattan federal court convicted Freedman of conspiracy to violate anti-kickback laws, violating anti-kickback laws and honest services wire fraud.

Insys filed for bankruptcy protection in June after agreeing to pay $225m (£171m) in a deal reached with the federal government to settle criminal and civil investigations.

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As part of that deal, Insys was asked to divest itself of Subsys.

Several former Insys executives and employees have also faced charges, including founder John Kapoor.

In May, a federal jury in Boston found Kapoor and four other ex-executives guilty of racketeering conspiracy.

They have appealed their convictions.

Insys has said that the “actions of a select few former employees” are not indicative of the company’s work today.

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