NEWARK, NJ – A doctor in Monmouth County, New Jersey was charged today for his involvement in a scheme to receive bribes from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for the illegal prescription of large amounts of a potent fentanyl narcotic, Acting US Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Mukaram Gazi, 51, of Marlboro, New Jersey, is charged with conspiracy to pay and receive bribes; one count of having received bribes; one count of healthcare fraud; and one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute dangerous narcotics.
According to the indictment:
Gazi owned and maintained a urology practice with locations in Freehold, Hamilton, Howell and Toms River, New Jersey. Gazi solicited and received more than $ 130,000 in bribes from Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company, in exchange for the prescription of its drug Subsys, a potent opioid narcotic designed to quickly enter the bloodstream of a patient after being sprayed under the tongue. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Subsys only for the “management of breakthrough pain attacks in cancer patients who are already receiving and tolerating 24 hour therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain.”
Gazi did not treat patients with breakthrough painful bouts of cancer and did not usually prescribe fentanyl pain relievers. However, in exchange for bribes from Insys Therapeutics, he began prescribing Subsys to a number of patients for whom Subsys was medically unnecessary.
The bribes and kickbacks that Gazi accepted for prescribing Subsys were disguised as payments for educational presentations regarding Subsys that Gazi allegedly provided to licensed practitioners. In reality, these presentations were a sham – they often functioned as social events in restaurants, lacked an appropriate audience of licensed practitioners who could prescribe Subsys, and many of the purported signatures on the speakers program sign-up sheets. were falsified. Gazi also prescribed a high dose of Adderall to a pharmacy owner who filled many of his Subsys prescriptions, as well as a relative of the pharmacy owner, to encourage the pharmacy owner to continue filling his prescriptions. Subsys.
Gazi also caused the submission of fraudulent claims to Medicare, New Jersey Medicaid and other health insurance providers for the Subsys and Adderall prescriptions he wrote, which were bribed, medically induced. unnecessary and not eligible for reimbursement. He also conspired with others to distribute these potent narcotics outside the ordinary course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes.
Acting US Attorney Honig credited Special Agents and FBI investigators, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of the special agent in charge Scott J. Lampert; special agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; and special agents from the US Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney, with the investigation leading up to today’s indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Adam Baker of the US Attorney’s Office, Opioid Abuse Prevention and Suppression Unit, and Senior Counsel David Malagold of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are only charges, and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.