Physician gets 2 years in prison for taking $344K in bribes

An Evergreen, Colo.-based physician was sentenced March 1 to two years in federal prison for accepting thousands of dollars in kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company.

Jeffrey Kesten, MD, admitted in a plea agreement he had a quid pro quo relationship with Insys where he accepted kickbacks in exchange for prescribing Subsys, a pain drug made by Insys. He was eventually among the top revenue-generating prescribers for the company.

The arrangement between Dr. Kesten and Insys began in late 2012 and ended in November 2015. During that time, Dr. Kesten said he accepted around $344,000 in bribes disguised as payments for delivering educational speeches that often didn't occur.

Dr. Kesten is among several physicians who pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from Insys, including Gordon Freedman, MD, a New York City-based pain physician. Dr. Freedman accepted $308,600 in bribes from the company and was sentenced to 17 years in prison last July.

The former Insys CEO Michael Babich was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in the scheme, and Insys agreed to pay a $225 million settlement to resolve allegations in 2020.

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