Maine Urologist Receives Light Sentence for Lupron Scam

Maine Urologist Receives Light Sentence for Lupron Scam

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

Dr. Joseph Olstein helped the government get a $1.2 billion settlement from TAP Pharmaceutical and AstraZeneca. In return he received only a light sentence for his part in the scam. The US Attorney announced that Olstein was sentenced this week to one year probation and a $20,000 fine (in addition to a previous $50,000 restitution payment).

Dr. Olstein pleaded guilty in 2001 to billing insurance companies for free samples of Lupron, which he received from TAP sales people. 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. From Maine to Florida in the past week alone, these scams are a problem all over the country.”

Maine Urologist Sentenced for Healthcare Fraud, Reports U.S. Attorney. 6 Oct 2004. Boston: PRNewswire.