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Friday, Dec 1, 2023

Calabasas Doctor Sentenced for Rx Bribery Scheme

Calabasas physician Dr. Amir Friedman, 56, was recently sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for allegedly accepting nearly $800,000 in bribes and kickbacks.

Friedman took bribes in exchange for writing prescriptions for compounded medications for his patients, unlawfully billing health insurers for the compounded medication prescriptions, according to the Justice Department.

The sentencing comes after Friedman pleaded guilty in October 2019 to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud and one count to violate the Travel Act. The Travel Act is a federal law that forbids U.S. mail from being used to aid bribery.

Friedman, a licensed anesthesiologist, allegedly conspired with Beverly Hills-based New Age Pharmaceuticals Inc from August 2013 to May 2015. New Age was reimbursed by insurance companies under the California Workers’ Compensation System for dispensing prescription drugs and other pharmaceuticals. New Age would be paid commissions for facilitating compounded drug prescription referrals.

Friedman was provided pre-printed prescription pads for compounded drugs and offered kickbacks and bribes by New Age for every prescription written, according to the Justice Department. New Age dispensed the compounded drugs, billed insurance companies for reimbursement and shipped the compounded drugs to patients after Friedman wrote the prescriptions.

Friedman accepted 28 check payments worth a total of $788,140 in kickbacks and bribes, according to the Justice Department. In his plea agreement, he admitted his awareness that the compounded drugs were significantly more expensive than equivalents.

Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio “Tony” Pequeño IV is a reporter covering health care, finance and law for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. He specializes in reporting on some of the biggest names in the Valley’s biotechnology sector. In addition to his work with the Business Journal, Tony has reported with BuzzFeed News on the unsupervised use of Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition technology. Tony, who also conducts freelance reporting, graduated from the USC’s Master of Science in Journalism program in 2021. He is in his fifth year as a journalist as of 2021.

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