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Physician and Pharmacy Help Fuel Demand for Illegal Pain Pills

He would visit the doctor during peculiar hours; between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday.

Under the cover of darkness, in a strip mall in La Puente, a man calling himself “Juan” came in search of powerful pain pills and other controlled substances. He didn’t have any identification and he told the doctor he was either drunk or on drugs.

It didn’t matter. He got what he came for.

Dr. Daniel Cham, who was a licensed physician in California at the time, handed “Juan” prescriptions for hundreds of pills including Oxycodone, a powerful opioid, Xanax, a sedative, and Soma, a muscle relaxer.

“Dr. Cham was not practicing legitimate medicine. Dr. Cham was, in the eyes of the law, a drug pusher,” said Ben Barron, an Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted Dr. Cham who was charged with narcotics trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and making a false statement to authorities.

What Dr. Cham didn’t know was that the patient who called himself “Juan,” was actually an undercover Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective and that he was secretly filming his interactions with the physician.

During one visit, Dr. Cham asks the undercover agent, “What else do you need?” In response, the detective tells him, “How about some Soma?” Dr. Cham then asks how much he wants. “Let’s go with 3 times a day,” replies the agent.

Dr. Cham also asked the detective how he wanted the prescriptions filled out. “Is it all on one script?” asks Dr. Cham. The detective responds, “Can you make it two again like last time? Can you put the Oxy and Soma together and the Xanax on the other one?”

“Dr. Cham did no physical examination; he would tell the agent what symptoms he should claim to feel,” said Barron. “Dr. Cham demanded 300 dollars cash for a prescription for hydrocodone or vicodin.”

Barron says the doctor would sometimes ask for more money when the undercover agent asked for more powerful pain pills like oxycodone. The prosecutor says that’s typical in these cases. The more powerful the medication, the more money the physician wants in return for a prescription.

Source: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/investigations/Physician-and-Pharmacy-Help-Fuel-Demand-for-Illegal-Pain-Pills-423235214.html#ixzz4hgI92T68
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6 pharma executives face criminal charges for alleged fentanyl racketeering scheme

Six pharmaceutical executives who worked for Chandler, Ariz.-based Insys Therapeutics were arrested Thursday on charges that they led a nationwide conspiracy to bribe clinicians to unnecessarily prescribe fentanyl-based pain medication, according to the Department of Justice.

The government claims the executives conspired to bribe physicians and medical practitioners in several states, many of whom worked in pain clinics, to prescribe their pain medication called Subsys. This narcotic contains fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, and is intended to treat cancer patients suffering intense episodes of breakthrough pain.

In exchange for kickbacks and bribes, practitioners allegedly wrote large numbers of prescriptions for patients, few of whom were diagnosed with cancer. The indictment also alleges the former Insys executives conspired to defraud health insurers that showed reluctance to approve payment for Subsys when it was prescribed to non-cancer patients. The defendants allegedly did so by establishing a “reimbursement unit” that obtained prior authorization directly from insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

Here are the names of the defendants, all of whom are no longer employed by Insys Therapeutics, along with the respective charges they face:

  • Michael Babich, former president and CEO: conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Alec Burlakoff, former vice president of sales: Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Richard M. Simon, former national director of sales: RICO conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Sunrise Lee, former regional sales director: RICO conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Joseph A. Rowan, former regional sales director: RICO conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Michael J. Gurry, former vice president of managed markets: RICO conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy

Criminal charges are rarely pressed in cases involving pharmaceutical companies, and several agents noted the severity of the charges in statements.

Full Read – http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/legal-regulatory-issues/6-pharma-executives-face-criminal-charges-for-alleged-fentanyl-racketeering-scheme.html