On Friday, a Chicago doctor pleaded guilty to receiving benefits and payments from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for prescribing his patients drugs that are believed to be high risk. The 71-year-old doctor, Michael Reinstein has treated nursing home and mental ward patients for decades and is accused of abusing the government program Medicaid, as well as patients.
The doctor has been over prescribing patients with an antipsychotic drug that is supposed to be used a last resort because the risks associated with the drug are high. Reinstein prescribed the risky medication while submitting false Medicare and Medicaid claims. The pharmaceutical company responsible for the drug was giving the doctor kickbacks in excessive payments and benefits to the tune of $600,000. During an investigation that was conducted in 2009, the fraud and kickback accusations were brought to light and the doctor's actions have been linked to three deaths. Several lawsuits accusing him of malpractice were filed.
State regulators suspended his license six months ago and recently federal charges were filed claiming Reinstein received kickbacks for prescribing the medication. Despite the admission the doctor made in his plea agreement, Reinstein claims to have received the money for performing lectures at medical conferences speaking on the benefits of antipsychotic drugs. He faces up to four years in prison, but will likely receive less in exchange for his guilty plea.
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