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Felonies alleged against physician for drug company kickbacks

New Hampshire prosecutors are increasing their efforts to stop the rising epidemic of opioids in the state. The Acting U.S. Attorney recently announced the arrest of a physician's assistant on charges that he received payments from a drug company in return for prescribing a fentanyl-based spray to patients in the alleged violation of federal law. Authorities have charged him with several felonies relating to the kickback charges.

Prosecutors say that the fentanyl spray has been approved strictly for cancer patients by the Food and Drug Administration. They say that he wrote more than 700 prescriptions for the drug in an eighteen-month period. The charges also deal with a number of presentations that the defendant made as a speaker to ostensibly discuss the drug.

They accuse him of accepting more than $41,000 for those speaking engagements. They claim, however, that many of the events were shams and that they were simply dinners with the drug company personnel, or that he did not discuss the drug at all. The events were not attended by other medical practitioners, they allege.

The charges also mention that several of the patients of the accused have sued him for getting them addicted to the drug. In such a case, defense counsel will look closely at the details of the relationship of the accused with the drug company. The events alleged must be investigated, and it must be determined if there are positive witnesses who can verify the legitimacy of the meetings.

The charges regarding the meetings may be particularly subject to defense. The kickback felonies charged by the prosecutors seem to be laced with assumptions and allegations based on unsupported hearsay. It is a common relationship for doctors in New Hampshire and other states to support certain drugs and to have contacts with the drug company with respect to such promotions. It is not clear at this time whether the prosecution can prove that these events were strictly shams and not useful meetings for discussing medical issues.

Source: seacoastonline.com, "Ex-PainCare prescriber charged with fentanyl 'kickbacks'", Elizabeth Dinan, March 24, 2017

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