Sandusky physician charged with prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances and health care fraud

Sandusky physician charged with prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances and health care fraud
State health leaders say the pandemic is increasing drug overdoses at an alarming rate and blame quarantine guidelines as the biggest cause. (Source: Live 5/File)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Gregory J. Gerber of Port Clinton, Ohio with 51 counts of distribution of controlled substances and two counts of health care fraud.

Gerber was a licensed medical physician practicing in Sandusky and specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation along with anesthesiology with a sub-specialty in pain medicine.

It is stated in the indictment that Gerber prescribed controlled substances such as fentanyl, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and other drugs outside of the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes.

The indictment also alleges that from Jan. 2010 to Aug. 2018, the defendant came up with a scheme to defraud federal health federal health care benefit programs by causing insurers to pay for the medically unnecessary controlled substances.

As part of the scheme, the defendant allegedly sought reimbursement from insurers using billing codes that reflected more costly services, performed patient examinations improperly, failed to establish evidence based diagnoses, and ignored signs of drug abuse and addiction

According to the indictment, Gerber wrote over approximately 835 prescriptions for Subsys, a fentanyl-based cancer pain treatment medication and some of these prescriptions were unnecessary and prescribed to patients who did not have cancer pain.

It is alleged that Gerber received compensation from Subsys’ manufacturing company, Insys Therapeutics, Inc. by participating in the company’s speakers bureau, a program that paid representatives to engage with other medical professionals and promote Subsys.

Allegedly, Gerber received approximately $1,500 and $3,700 for each engagement with an approximate total of $175,000 and other items of value.

“More Ohioans are dying from opioid overdoses than at any point in this devastating epidemic and this doctor helped put us here one prescription at a time,” Ohio Attorney General David Yost said. “Ending this scheme was vital to an area that has been devastated by the opioid crisis.”

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