Another Lupron Guilty Plea

Another Lupron Guilty Plea

News and Commentary | Fraud Cases | Kickbacks | Prescription Drug Fraud

November 15, 2004, Boston. Dr. John Romano, a urologist in Massachusetts pleaded guilty to fraud for charging Medicare and Medicaid for free samples of Lupron. Sentencing is scheduled for February 2005.

According to the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, four other urologists have been sentenced in connection with this investigation. Dr. Joseph Olstein (Maine), Dr. Rodney Mannion (Indiana), Dr. Jacob Zamstein (Connecticut), and Dr. Joseph Spinella (Connecticut) pleaded guilty healthcare fraud. These doctors were sentenced to probation, in exchange for their help with the Lupron investigation, which resulted in a $1.2 million settlement from TAP Pharmaceutical.

Lupron is an injectible drug used for treating prostate cancer. Physicians can bill Medicare and other insurers for injectible drugs. Because the free samples were given as a way for physicians to enhance their income, the samples are considered a kick-back. Without the kickbacks that TAP offered to urologists, an equivalent drug that is cheaper than Lupron would probably have been prescribed.

“This case began several years ago, but we’re still seeing injectible drug billing fraud,” said Robin Mathias. “Until we get better controls to track these injectible drugs from the manufacturers to the patient, we’re going to continue to see fraud in this area.”

Health Care Fraud Chief Michael K. Loucks and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Susan Winkler and George Vien in Sullivan’s Health Care Fraud Unit are
prosecuting this case.

Massachusetts Urologist Pleads Guilty, US Attorney. 15 Nov 2004. Boston.