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Crime

Second Baltimore County pain doctor pleads guilty as part of wide-ranging opioid scheme

A Baltimore County doctor pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges he conspired with other members of his pain clinic to wrongfully prescribe highly addictive oxycodone to patients.

Norman Rosen, 84, faces up to 20 years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging scheme to prescribe opioids to people who didn’t need them. Rosen was medical director and part-owner of Rosen-Hoffberg Rehabilitation and Pain Management Associates P.A., a Baltimore County pain clinic with locations in Owings Mills and Towson.

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Rosen’s business partner, then-65-year-old Howard Hoffberg, pleaded guilty last June to conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statutes, in connection with a scheme to accept payments from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for prescribing a fentanyl-based drug. He was sentenced to eight months in federal prison.

A physician assistant at the practice, William Soyke, then 69, pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone and alprazolam, and was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison.

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Rosen primarily worked in his clinic’s Towson offices, and his patients were often prescribed high doses of oxycodone and other opioid medications, despite using other illicit substances, like cocaine, according to his plea agreement.

Prosecutors said Rosen set the policies for the pain clinic, most importantly the belief that the “customer is always right.”

One patient of Rosen’s, a woman in her early 30s, admitted to him she was using street drugs, and her urine tested positive for fentanyl. Rosen prescribed her oxycodone anyway, according to his plea agreement. Another female patient, also in her 30s, had her children taken away from her because of her substance use problems. Rosen also prescribed oxycodone to her, even when illegal drugs were present in her urine.

What’s more, prosecutors said Rosen was aware Hoffberg was getting kickbacks from Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics for prescribing Subsys, a fentanyl spray.

A judge sentenced Insys founder John Kapoor to 5.5 years in prison after a Boston jury convicted him of racketeering charges in 2019.

Rosen likely won’t receive close to the full 20-year sentence, with prosecutors agreeing to ask for a reduction in his sentence because he quickly agreed to cooperate and plead guilty, according to court filings.

Until his sentencing, scheduled for November, Rosen is barred from international travel and has to surrender his passport.


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