New York physician pleads guilty to accepting kickbacks from Insys

A New York physician pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to accepting bribes and kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics in exchange for prescribing its powerful fentanyl spray Subsys.

Alexandru Burducea, DO, was one of five New York physicians charged in a federal indictment last year for allegedly conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.

The indictment charged that Dr. Burducea received approximately $68,400 in speaker fees in exchange for prescribing large volumes of Subsys. In addition, Insys hired Dr. Burducea's then-girlfriend, now wife, to work as a sales representative. The drugmaker alledgedly paid her large commissions based on the volume of Subsys prescribed by her assigned physicians, including Dr. Burducea.

Dr. Burducea pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. He faces up to five years in prison.

"As he admitted today, Alexandru Burducea, a prominent Manhattan pain management doctor, accepted tens of thousands of dollars in speaker fees from Insys in exchange for prescribing large volumes of Insys' powerful fentanyl-based spray, Subsys," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.  "The corrupting influence of money has no place in medicine, especially when it comes to prescribing fentanyl and other dangerous opioids."

Subsys is Insys' powerful painkiller that is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It was approved by the FDA to manage pain in cancer patients.

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