Dr. Steven Chun, 57, of Sarasota, and Daniel Tondre, 50, of Tampa, have been charged in a 16-count indictment with allegedly conspiring to pay and receiving kickbacks in connection with prescribing a fentanyl spray.
According to the indictment, Chun, owned and operated a pain management medical practice in Sarasota where he prescribed a large volume of Schedule II opioids, including fentanyl. Tondre was employed as a sales representative for Insys Therapeutics Inc., a company that manufactured and sold Subsys, an expensive form of liquid fentanyl designed to be applied under the tongue, allowing it to rapidly enter the bloodstream, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Insys sales representatives were allegedly compensated, in part, with sales commissions based upon paid prescriptions of Subsys written by practitioners in their sales territory, officials say in the statement. Tondre’s territory included Chun’s practice.
Chun is also charged with five counts of soliciting and receiving kickbacks in the form of speaker fees. Tondre is charged with five counts of offering and paying the speaker fees to Chun when he worked as an Insys sales representative, officials say in the release. Chun and Tondre are both charged in five counts of identification fraud in connection with the speaker events.
Insys allegedly used a sham speaker program to conceal and disguise kickbacks and bribes paid to high-prescribing doctors, like Chun, to induce them to prescribe Subsys, authorities allege. They also contend Insys sales representatives, like Tondre, arranged speaker programs that were often only attended by family and friends, or repeat attendees, and included falsified or forged signatures of attendees. Insys also allegedly bribed large Subsys-prescribers, like Chun, by hiring individuals, often close to the doctors, to work as an Insys liaison to facilitate the approval of insurance forms for Subsys, including those submitted for Medicare patients, the release says.
Chun was allegedly paid more than $275,000 in illegal kickbacks and bribes from Insys in connection with the sham speaker programs, according to the statement.
If convicted on all counts, Chun and Tondre each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on the conspiracy count, up to five years of imprisonment on each identification fraud count and up to 10 years in prison for each substantive kickback violation. The indictment also notifies the defendants the U.S. is seeking a money judgment in the amount of the proceeds of the alleged kickbacks.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and by the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.