A Bergen County nurse admitted cashing in on a multi-million-dollar health insurance scam by pushing and writing prescriptions for customized drugs that patients didn’t need -- and doing it without a license.
The co-owners of a pharmaceutical marketing company paid Jennifer Nash, 51, of River Vale, to pitch and prescribe the particular drugs, known as “compounded medications," Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
“Not only did Nash write these prescriptions regardless of whether a health insurance plan beneficiary needed such a medication,” Honig said.
She also wrote them even though her advance practice nurse license was suspended in December 2014, the U.S. attorney said.
In some cases, Nash didn’t examine – or even meet – the patients, she said.
Nash also marketed the custom drugs in exchange for fat commissions “without regard to whether a beneficiary needed such a medication or whether an FDA-approved medication would have been appropriate and sufficient,” Honig said.
Compounded medications, she explained, are specialty drugs mixed by a pharmacist to meet the specific medical needs of a patient. Although not approved by the FDA, Honing said the drugs are properly prescribed when “a medical professional determines that an FDA-approved medication does not meet the health needs of a particular patient.
“For example, compounded drugs may be appropriate for a patient who is allergic to a dye or other ingredient or a patient who cannot consume a medication by traditional means, such as an elderly patient or child who needs the medication in a liquid form instead of an FDA-approved pill,” the U.S. attorney said.
Rather than go to trial, Nash took a deal from the government, pleading guilty earlier this week via videoconference with a federal judge in Newark to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez scheduled sentencing for July 6.
Honig credited special agents and of the FBI in Newark and Defense Criminal Investigative Service with the investigation leading to Tuesday’s guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Osmar J. Benvenuto and José R. Almonte of her Health Care Fraud Unit, also in Newark.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.