Health Law Highlights

Ten Physicians and Local Execs Indicted in Pharmacy Kickback Scheme

From D Magazine, by Will Maddox:

A pharmaceutical kickback scheme in the Northern District of Texas has led to the indictment of 14 people, including several podiatrists, local businessmen, and executives at Next Health, a healthcare holding company. The scheme involved physicians receiving bribes and kickbacks from pharmacies for referring prescriptions to be filled at those pharmacies, with payments being proportional to the number of prescriptions received.

The scheme, which began in 2014, was concealed through complex business arrangements and involved multiple entities. Payments were funneled through management service organizations (MSOs) and a company called Med Left, which was used to conceal and funnel bribes from the pharmacies to the physicians.

The kickbacks were often disguised as legitimate returns on investments in the pharmacies. Physicians would purchase a percentage of the pharmacy for a nominal fee and were required to refer prescriptions to the pharmacy for ownership. The profits from these prescriptions were then shared with the prescribing doctors.

The owners of Next Health, Andrew Hillman and Semyon Narosov, previously pleaded guilty to charges connected with the scheme in 2018 and were sentenced to several years in prison. Ten physicians, including podiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, and a gastroenterologist, have been indicted for referring prescriptions to Next Health’s pharmacies and receiving kickbacks.