Five New York doctors charged with taking
kickbacks from Insys
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[March 17, 2018]
By Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors on
Friday brought charges against five New York doctors accused of taking
kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics Inc in exchange for prescribing the
company's potent fentanyl-based cancer pain medication.
An indictment filed in Manhattan federal court said Gordon Freedman,
Jeffrey Goldstein, Todd Schlifstein, Dialecti Voudouris and Alexandru
Burducea received fees from Insys to participate as speakers in sham
Prosecutors also said that two former Insys employees who were first
charged in 2016 in connection with the scheme, Jonathan Roper and
Fernando Serrano, had secretly pleaded guilty and become cooperating
The five doctors were arrested on Friday morning and face charges
including that they violated the federal anti-kickback law and conspired
to commit fraud. They pleaded not guilty on Friday before U.S.
Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan and were released on bail.
"We look forward to resolution of the charges," said Nicholas Kaizer, a
lawyer for Burducea, after the court hearing. The other defendants and
their lawyers had no immediate comment.
The case is the latest in a series of medical practitioners and former
Insys executives and employees facing criminal charges related to
Subsys, the company's potentially addictive fentanyl-based spray.
Federal prosecutors in Boston have accused seven former executives and
managers at Insys, including billionaire founder John Kapoor, of
participating in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe Subsys and to
defraud insurers into paying for it. The seven have pleaded not guilty.
Insys has said it may need to pay at least $150 million towards part of
a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.
Chandler, Arizona-based Insys did not respond to a request for comment.
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A box of the Fentanyl-based drug Subsys, made by Insys Therapeutics
Inc, appears in an undated photograph provided by the U.S.
Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Alabama. U.S.
Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Alabama/Handout via
According to Friday's indictment, the five doctors participated in
Insys' speaker programs, which were in reality social gatherings at
They earned kickbacks ranging from $68,000 and $308,000 and were
among the top 20 prescribers of Subsys nationwide at some point
during the scheme, prosecutors said.
In 2013 Goldstein and Schlifstein went to a strip club with Roper,
an Insys sales manager; Serrano, an Insys sales representative; and
an unnamed Insys executive, and Insys covered the $4,100 bill, which
included lap dances, the indictment said.
Freedman, 57; Voudouris, 47; and Burducea, 41 have all been
affiliated with New York's Mount Sinai hospital, according to the
hospital's website. Schlifstein, 49, and Goldstein, 48, co-owned a
private medical office on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Mount Sinai could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Additional reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by
Bernadette Baum and Rosalba O'Brien)
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