Nurse Pleads Guilty to Taking Kickbacks from Drug Maker

A Connecticut nurse has pleaded guilty to federal charges of accepting $83,000 in kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona drug manufacturer that sells the powerful painkiller Subsys. According to federal prosecutors, the nurse worked in a pain clinic and was a top prescriber of Sybsys to Medicare patients. Prosecutors said she was being paid by the company for speaking engagements, even though many times the only other person in attendance was a sales representative for Insys, or friends and colleagues who had no authority to prescribe the drug.

“I think it means big trouble for the company,” Marcella Auerbach, a former federal prosecutor who now represents whistle-blowers in fraud cases. “I think it takes two to tango to do kickbacks – a giver and a receiver.”

Ms. Auerbach and others said the nurse’s guilty plea may mean that prosecutors are seeking to strike deals with individuals in exchange for providing additional information about the company’s practices.

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