RI Sales Rep for Insys Therapeutics Pleads Guilty to Role in Kickback Scheme

Thursday, July 13, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team

Insys Therapeutics
A Rhode Island sales rep for the drug company Insys Therapeutics pleaded guilty to a role in a kickback scheme related to fentanyl spray prescriptions that defrauded federal healthcare programs. The guilty plea was announced by Deirdre Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. 

Natalie Levine, 33, of Arizona was responsible for covering the territories including Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Levine pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback law, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. 

Judge Michael P. Shea scheduled sentencing for October 5, 2017.

The Investigation

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately March 2013 to October 2014, Levine was employed by Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company that manufactured and sold Subsys, a fentanyl-based sublingual spray that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration solely for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. 

In pleading guilty, Levine admitted that she induced certain medical practitioners, including an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in Connecticut, a physician’s assistant (PA) in New Hampshire, and a physician in Rhode Island, to prescribe Subsys by paying them to participate in hundreds of sham “Speaker Programs.” 

The Speaker Programs, which were typically held at high-end restaurants, were designed to gather licensed healthcare professionals who had the capacity to prescribe Subsys and educate them about the drug. In truth, the events were usually just a gathering of friends and co-workers, most of whom did not have the ability to prescribe Subsys, and no educational component took place. 

“Speakers” were paid a fee that ranged from $1,000 to several thousand dollars for attending these dinners. At times, the sign-in sheets for the Speaker Programs were forged so as to make it appear that the programs had an appropriate audience of healthcare professionals.

The medical practitioners were paid thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks in order to prescribe Subsys, and induce others to prescribe Subsys, over similar medications. Medicare Part D plans authorized payment for hundreds of Subsys prescriptions written by the three medical practitioners, resulting in a loss of approximately $4.5 million. 

U.S. Attorney Daly encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force (203) 785-9270 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

  • #25

    Doctor: Christopher Born

    Specialty: Orthopaedic Trauma

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $83,353

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Stryker Corporation

  • #24

    Doctor: Robert Marchand

    Specialty: Orthopaedic Surgery

    Location: Wakefield, RI

    Amount Paid: $83,400

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: Stryker Corporation and MAKO Surgical Corp

  • #23

    Doctor: Jon Ruel

    Specialty: Prosthodontics 

    Location: Portsmouth, RI

    Amount Paid: $85,412

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: BIomet 3i LLC

  • #22

    Doctor: Edward Akelman

    Specialty: Orthopaedic & Hand Surgery

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $86,978

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Integra LifeSciences Corporation

  • #21

    Doctor: Samir Shah

    Specialty: Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $88,840

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc and AbbVie Inc

  • #20

    Doctor: Robert Bierwirth

    Specialty: Internal Medicine & Gastroenterology

    Location: Cranston, RI

    Amount Paid: $92,107

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: Janssen Products, LP

  • #19

    Doctor: Stephen Chabot

    Specialty: Neurology & Psychiatry

    Location: Pawtucket, RI

    Amount Paid: $94,892

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc.

  • #18

    Doctor: Damian Dupuy

    Specialty: Diagnostic Radiology

    Location: East Providence,RI

    Amount Paid: $96,840

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: BSD Medical Corporation

  • #17

    Doctor: Joseph Renzulli

    Specialty: Urology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $101,000

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: Algeta US LLC and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc

  • #16

    Doctor: Albert Marano

    Specialty: Psychiatry & Neurology

    Location: Johnston, RI

    Amount Paid: $105,000

    Payments Exceeding $2,000 From: Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc and Biogen Idec Inc.

  • #15

    Doctor: David Caldarella

    Specialty: Primary Podiatric Medicine

    Location: Pawtucket, RI

    Amount Paid: $106,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Biomet Orthopedics LLC and Trilliant Surgical Ltd

  • #14

    Doctor: J Easton

    Specialty: Psychiatry & Neurology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $117,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc, Novartis Pharma AG, and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC

  • #13

    Doctor: Paul Akerman

    Specialty: Gastroenterology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $121,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: CONMED Corporation, Spirus Medical LLC, Olympus Corporation of the Americas, Covidien LP

  • #12

    Doctor: Thomas Sepe

    Specialty: Gastroenterology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $131,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: CONMED Corporation

  • #11

    Doctor: Anthony Mega

    Specialty: Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $133,000

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc

  • #10

    Doctor: Russell Settipane

    Specialty: Allergy & Immunology

    Location:Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $133,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Mylan Specialty L.P

  • #9

    Doctor: Jerrold Rosenberg

    Specialty: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $152,000

    Payments Exceeding $4,000 From: INSYS Therapeutics Inc 

  • #8

    Doctor: Ellen Frankel

    Specialty: Procedural Dermatology

    Location: Cranston, RI

    Amount Paid: $162,000

    Payments Exceeding $3,000 From: AbbVie Inc and Merz North America Inc

  • #7

    Doctor: Joseph Lowney

    Specialty: Medicine, Gastroenterology

    Location: Warwick, RI

    Amount Paid: $172,000

    Payments Exceeding $3,000 From: AbbVie Inc and Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc

  • #6

    Doctor: Arnold-Peter Weiss

    Specialty: Orthopaedic & Hand Surgery

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $173,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Medartis Inc and DePuy Synthes Products LLC

  • #5

    Doctor: Christopher Digiovanni

    Specialty: Foot and Ankle Surgery

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $212,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Extremity Medical and BioMimetic Therapeutics LLC

  • #4

    Doctor: Andrew Green

    Specialty: Sports Medicine

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $224,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Tornier Inc and Encore Medical LP 

  • #3

    Doctor: Syed Rizvi

    Specialty: Psychiatry & Neurology

    Location: Providence, RI

    Amount Paid: $242,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Biogen Idec Inc and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc

  • #2

    Doctor: Michael Bradley

    Specialty: Orthopaedic Surgery

    Location: Wakefield, RI

    Amount Paid: $261,000

    Payments Exceeding $5,000 From: Arthrex Inc, Encore Medical LP, Arthrex Inc, 



Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email