Oxycontin
Oxycodone, best known by trade names OxyContin (shown), Vicodin and Norco. File image.

A Santa Monica pain specialist has paid $271,259 to resolve allegations that he prescribed drugs in exchange for receiving paid speaking and consulting work from their manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

Dr. Gerald M. Sacks allegedly violated the False Claims Act by prescribing the medications Butrans, Hysingla and OxyContin to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for receiving paid speaking and consulting work from Purdue Pharma LP, and the medications Gralise, Lazanda and Nucynta to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for paid speaking and consulting work from their manufacturer, Depomed Inc., according to the DOJ.

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. 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 decision-making,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Granston of the DOJ’s Civil Division. “Adherence to this prohibition is especially crucial with regard to dangerous drugs like opioids.”

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