New England drug sales rep pleads guilty to kickback scheme

- FILE - Fentanyl (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A woman who worked as a drug company sales representative in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island has pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme involving the powerful prescription painkiller fentanyl.

Federal prosecutors say 33-year-old Natalie Levine of Scottsdale, Arizona, paid thousands of dollars to induce medical practitioners to prescribe a fentanyl-based spray known as Subsys.

Levine pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hartford to conspiracy to violate an anti-kickback law. She faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The activity occurred in 2013 and 2014 when Levine was employed by Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company.

Prosecutors say Levine paid people to participate in hundreds of sham “speaker programs,” which were typically held at high-end restaurants.

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