New York pain physician gets 17 years in prison for role in kickback scheme

Gordon Freedman, MD, a New York City-based pain physician, was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison July 8 after being convicted of accepting kickbacks and admitting to prescribing controlled substances unnecessarily.

Dr. Freedman was convicted in a trial by jury of accepting $308,600 from Insys Therapeutics in exchange for prescribing the company's fentanyl-based spray Subsys, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement. He was among the five New York physicians who were paid as speakers for sham educational programs about Subsys.

Dr. Freedman was the highest paid Insys speaker in the U.S. in 2014, and his prescriptions accounted for $1.1 million in overall Subsys net sales for the fourth quarter of that year.

He pleaded guilty in 2019 to distributing oxycodone and fentanyl to a patient without medical necessity who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2017.

Dr. Freedman, 61, also was ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.

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