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Westchester Doctor Sentenced For Pushing Fentanyl For Drug Company

Westchester doctor gets five years in prison for pushing fentanyl for a drug company and receiving kickbacks in cash.
Westchester doctor gets five years in prison for pushing fentanyl for a drug company and receiving kickbacks in cash. Photo Credit: Pixabay/QuinceCreative

A Westchester doctor who practiced in Manhattan has been sentenced to five years in prison for taking bribes from drug companies for prescribing fentanyl.

Jeffrey Goldstein, of New Rochelle, was sentenced on Wednesday, June 16, for violating the anti-kickback statute after receiving more than $200,000 from Subsys’s manufacturer, Insys Therapeutics, in exchange for prescribing Subsys, a potent fentanyl-based spray, said. Audrey Strauss, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Goldstein, age 51, previously pleaded guilty, in August 2019, the United States Attorney's Office said.

"This sentence sends a loud and clear signal to the medical community that if you take bribes in return for prescribing, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and risk significant prison time," said Strauss.

Subsys, which is manufactured by Insys, is a powerful painkiller approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. 

 The FDA approved Subsys only for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. Prescriptions of Subsys typically cost thousands of dollars each month, and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as commercial insurers, reimbursed prescriptions written by Goldstein.

Goldstein became involved in 2012 with Insys' “Speakers Bureau,” a roster of doctors who would conduct programs aimed at educating other practitioners about Subsys, according to court documents. 

In reality, Insys used its Speakers Bureau to induce the doctors who served as speakers to prescribe large volumes of Subsys by paying them Speaker Program fees.

Goldstein, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, owned a private medical office on the Upper East Side, received approximately $196,000 in Speaker Program fees from Insys in exchange for prescribing large volumes of Subsys. 

In addition to cash, Goldstein also received other items from the company including company officials taking him to strip clubs and paying for holiday parties.

In 2014, Goldstein was approximately the fifth-highest-paid Insys speaker nationally. He was the sixth-highest prescriber of Subsys in the last quarter of 2014, accounting for approximately $809,275 in overall net sales of Subsys in that quarter.

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