Pain physician pleads guilty to accepting $140,000 kickbacks from Insys

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Kenneth Sun, MD, of Easton, Pa., pleaded guilty Nov. 22 to his role in the Insys Therapeutics kickback scheme, receiving bribes in exchange for prescribing large amounts of the company's fentanyl narcotic.


Five things to know:

1. Dr. Sun pleaded guilty to receiving more than $140,000 in bribes and kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics to prescribe Subsys. The payments were labeled honoraria for educational presentations that Dr. Sun provided to other practitioners; however, he admitted that the presentations were a sham.

2. The company would hold the educational events, but the same individuals attended them multiple times, and there were some presentations attributed to Dr. Sun that he did not attend at all.

3. From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Sun admitted to soliciting and receiving the kickbacks from Insys. At the same time, he billed Medicare for more than $847,000 in Subsys prescriptions that were medically unnecessary and procured through the bribes and kickbacks, according to the Department of Justice.

4. Subsys is FDA approved for cancer pain management for patients who had grown tolerant to other pain therapy. However, Dr. Sun admitted to prescribing Subsys outside of that indication.

5. In June, Insys paid $225 million to settle illegal marketing allegations related to Subsys. The company's founder and four other executives were also convicted of racketeering by a federal jury earlier this year.

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