Saginaw doctor sentenced for defrauding health insurers - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw doctor sentenced for defrauding health insurers

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan doctor learns his fate after admitting to defrauding health insurers.

Gavin Awerbuch was sentenced to 32 months in prison Monday and ordered to pay back $4 million.

Back in 2014, the Saginaw neurologist was accused of writing unnecessary prescriptions and billing insurers for procedures that never happened.

Awerbuch is one of several doctors who were investigated following allegations that a company called "Insys" paid doctors to prescribe its opioid product.

Below is a statement from Brian McKeen, managing partner of McKeen & Associates, who represented one of Awerbuch's victims, who died of an overdose:

“Dr. Gavin Awerbuch used his position as a trusted physician to perpetuate a scheme designed to defraud the government of millions of dollars.  Dr. Awerbuch unnecessarily prescribed a massive amount of Subsys, a painkiller designed for cancer patients. The potent painkiller was liquid Fentanyl. The drug is highly addictive and puts patients at high risk for dependence and overdose.  The painkiller should be prescribed to cancer patients in immense pain.  Dr. Awerbuch routinely prescribed the painkiller to patients without the need for Subsys.  His wrongful prescription habits made him the top Subsys dispenser in the country.

“Ms. Stephanie Lopez was a victim of Dr. Awerbuch’s scheme. He needlessly prescribed Subsys and a host of other drugs to Ms. Lopez.  He did not consider the ramification of the lethal cocktail of drugs.  Ms. Lopez passed away from an overdose of Fentanyl that had been prescribed by Dr. Awerbuch.  McKeen and Associates is dedicated to bringing Dr. Awerbuch to justice, and ensuring what happened to Ms. Lopez never happens again. Her case is pending.

“Our nation is in the throes of an opioid crisis. Greedy, careless doctors such as Dr. Awerbuch are largely responsible for this epidemic which has wreaked havoc in our families, communities and our nation. Dr. Awerbuch, and those like him who profit from the damage done to our society through negligent opioid management, should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

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