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Santa Monica Pain Specialist Settles Case Alleging Pharma Kickbacks

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By Lookout Staff

July 19, 2022 -- A pain specialist with an office in Santa Monica has agreed to pay more than a quarter million dollars to settle a federal case alleging he took kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.

Dr. Gerald M. Sacks has paid $271,259.12 to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act, according to Federal officials. The law imposes liability on persons and companies who defraud government programs.

Sacks allegedly prescribed Butrans, Hysingla and OxyContin to Medicare beneficiaries "in exchange, at least in part, for receiving paid speaking and consulting work from their manufacturer, Purdue Pharma LP," Justice Department officials said in a press release Monday.

Sacks also allegedly prescribed Gralise, Lazanda and Nucynta to Medicare beneficiaries and received similar benefits from their manufacturer, Depomed Inc., officials said.

"Prescribing drugs in exchange for receiving paid speaking and consulting work from their manufacturers violates the Anti-Kickback Statute, and renders associated claims to federal health care programs false," Justice Department officials said.

Butrans, Hysingla, OxyContin, Lazanda and Nucynta are opioid medications for the treatment of pain. Gralise is a nerve-pain medication.

“Physicians are prohibited from accepting kickbacks designed to influence their decisionmaking,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Granston of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“Adherence to this prohibition is especially crucial with regard to dangerous drugs like opioids.”

Sacks did not respond to a request from The Lookout for comment.

The claims settled by the agreement "are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability," Justice Department officials said.

The Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General worked on the case.

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