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Crime

Baltimore County doctor sentenced to eight months in prison for taking kickbacks to prescribe pain medication

A Baltimore County doctor was sentenced Thursday to eight months in federal prison and one year of supervised release for his involvement with kickbacks to prescribe highly addictive pain medication.

Howard J. Hoffberg, 65, who was associate medical director and part-owner of Rosen-Hoffberg Rehabilitation and Pain Management, pleaded guilty in June 2021 to conspiracy to violate anti-kickback statutes for taking money from an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company from 2012 to 2018 to prescribe a fentanyl spray called Subsys.

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His case was part of the fallout of a racketeering case and civil penalties levied against executives of Insys Therapeutics who prosecutors said helped fuel the opioid crisis.

Hoffberg, of Reisterstown, received $66,000 in payments after entering into a contract to conduct speaking engagements for Insys. Federal prosecutors called the arrangement a “sham,” designed to funnel the kickbacks.

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Hoffberg’s attorneys Neel Lalchandani and Joshua Treem could not be reached Friday for comment.

John Kapoor, the founder of Insys, and others were accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to doctors across the United States to prescribe Subsys. In addition to paying bribes, the company also was accused of misleading insurers to get payments approved for the drug, which is meant to treat cancer patients in severe pain and can cost as much as $19,000 a month.

Along with Kapoor, four others from Insys were convicted last year and two pleaded guilty. All of them have been dealt prison sentences, ranging from a year and a day to nearly three years.

Insys last year reached a $225 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to end its criminal and civil probes, and the company has since filed for bankruptcy protection.


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