Dr. Rita Luthra, 64, a US-based Indian origin gynaecologist, has been convicted for apparently accepting favours from a pharmaceutical company for prescribing the company’s osteoporosis drugs to her patients and letting the sales representatives to access patient’s records. Osteoporosis drugs are used to cure a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue.
As per the court documents, Dr. Luthra was getting paid $23,500 from Warner Chilcott, a New Jersy-based pharmaceutical company, to prescribe its osteoporosis drugs—Actonel and Atelvia—to her patients during the period from October 2010 to November 2011. It was found that the company’s sales representative had apparently paid on multiple occasions for several indirect services such as food and lodging benefits to the doctor.
It is also suspected that Dr.Luthra's prescriptions of Warner Chilcott's osteoporosis drugs increased when she was getting paid from the company and impulsively declined when the company stopped paying her. Further, Dr. Luthra is accused of providing false and misleading information to the Federal agents. She also directed one of her employees to lie to the Federal agents, when she was interviewed about her relationship with Warner Chilcott.
Based on the investigations, Dr. Luthra is accused with charges of violating the ‘anti-kickback’ statute by wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information and hindering a criminal health care investigation by lying to the federal agents and also directing an employee to do the same. The charge of disclosure of health information provides a sentence of around 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.