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Missouri physician gets 1 year in prison for accepting drug manufacturer bribes in exchange for prescribing fentanyl
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Missouri physician gets 1 year in prison for accepting drug manufacturer bribes in exchange for prescribing fentanyl

Randall Halley, a Missouri physician, was sentenced on Tuesday for accepting bribes from a drug manufacturer in exchange for prescribing fentanyl to his patients. The 65-year-old who pleaded guilty in 2021 was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough also ordered Halley to pay a $150,000 fine and $400,565 in restitution to Medicare, the Justice Department reported.

Halley overprescribed fentanyl for kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company so often that he ranked highest in Missouri and 38th in the nation for sales of the drug. The physician admitted to lying on Medicare pre-approval forms to secure insurance coverage. He also admitted to providing staff with his DEA registration number so they could prescribe medications in his absence.

In December 2021, Halley pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Medicare and one count of conspiracy.

From 2004 to 2019, Halley worked at the Ozark Community Hospital - Christian County Clinic in Nixa, Missouri. The licensed physician was also employed by several nursing and residential care facilities.

While he was employed at the hospital, Halley was only present a maximum of two days per week at the facility, according to the court documents. The physician spent the rest of his time working at nursing homes and traveling for pharmaceutical companies. Halley was frequently paid to speak at events for Insys Therapeutics, an opioid manufacturer.

Insys provided the only fentanyl medication approved for Medicare cancer patients. Halley admitted to prescribing fentanyl to a patient he falsely claimed had been diagnosed with cancer to get approved for Medicare coverage. As a result of his false statement, Medicare paid a total of $11,945 in prescription coverage for the patient.

The drug manufacturer made it appear that Halley was being paid as a speaker at various events. In reality, the physician was collecting bribes for prescribing the company's fentanyl to his patients. Authorities discovered a direct correlation between the payments from the company and Halley's issued prescriptions.

The drug manufacturer labeled Halley a "national" speaker, even though he only traveled out of Missouri to neighboring states twice for speaking events. Insys was caught paying Halley $2,400 for an event that he never even attended. In total, Insys paid the physician $92,225 in bribes.

Halley allowed his employees to use his registration number to write prescriptions in his absence. He also filled out prescriptions ahead of patients' appointments when he knew he could not attend. Instead of rescheduling the patient's appointment to meet with a registered physician, he would allow employees to meet with them and provide the patient with his pre-signed prescription.

Three of Halley's former employees pleaded guilty to illegally using Halley's registration number. Another former employee is awaiting trial in December for similar charges.

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