The Department of Justice charged three Oklahoma-based physicians, including an orthopedic surgeon, are charged with violating the anti-kickback statute for their role in a scheme dating back to November 2012.
Five things to know:
1. Gary Robert Lee, MD, and Christopher Parks were accused of bribing physicians to write compounding drug prescriptions for their patients. Orthopedic surgeon Krishna Balarma Parchuri, DO, was among the physicians that received kickbacks and named in the charges.
2. Dr. Lee and Mr. Parks controlled OK Compounding in Skiatook, One Stop RX in Tulsa and NBJ Pharmacy and Airport McKay Pharmacy in Houston. After the defendants paid kickbacks to physicians for writing prescriptions to the pharmacy, they divided the profits.
3. The Department of Justice estimates Tricare paid $3.2 million in false claims, Medicare paid $285,776 in false claims and other federal programs paid around $862,818. Altogether, the federal government paid $4.3 million for the ill-gotten services.
4. Included in the charges are allegations that the physicians sometimes distributed pre-printed prescription pads with a list of compounding formulas and the prescribing physicians checked the boxes with their preferred drug before sending it directly to the pharmacies. Typically, the prescribing physician would write a customized prescription for the patient to take to a pharmacy they choose.
5. Dr. Parchuri allegedly received kickbacks of up to $50,000 per month for prescribing the compounded drugs. The co-conspirators typically made kickback payments through sham business arrangements such as to physicians serving as medical directors or consulting physicians for the pharmacies or "university study." However, the federal government alleges the arrangements were meant to conceal illegal kickback payments.