Hudson, Ohio-based physician Deepak Raheja, MD, was sentenced to prison and must pay $2.2 million after pleading guilty to his role in a pharmaceutical kickback scheme, the U.S. Justice Department said Feb. 3.
Between February 2011 and July 2016, Dr. Raheja and his co-conspirators increased prescriptions for Nuedexta, a drug manufactured to treat the neurological condition pseudobulbar affect, in exchange for money and other items of value.
Co-defendants Frank Mazzucco and Gregory Hayslette were employed by Avanir Pharmaceuticals, which manufactured the drug. Avanir promoted the drug through a speaker's bureau, where physicians promoted Nuedexta by speaking to other providers.
From February 2011 to July 2016, Dr. Raheja gave approximately 211 presentations after joining the speaker's bureau, receiving around $1,500 per presentation.
According to court documents, Dr. Raheja wrote more Nuedexta prescriptions than any other physician in the country, submitted billings for Nuedexta prescriptions for patients that did not have pseudobulbar and falsely diagnosed patients with pseudobulbar in exchange for things of value.
Dr. Raheja was sentenced to 30 months in prison in addition to the restitution and fine.